It what seems as a testament to perils journalists expose themselves when they collect information from the internet, Shane Fitzgerald, a student of University College of Dublin was able to hoodwink a large section worldwide news media into quoting a fictional text attributed to late film composer Maurice Jarre.
When renowned film composer Maurice Jarre passed away in March this year, Shane visited his bio page on Wikipedia and added a fictional quote.
Since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit and add content, Shane hardly experienced any difficulty in playing his little trick, but what was surprising was that he was able to fool some of the most respected journalists in business today and his fictional quote was carried by likes of BBC Music magazine and The Guardian amongst others.
Some believe that the quote which Shane placed was inherently beautiful and it read “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack, Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear."
This incident is surely going to serve as a wakeup call to journalists who rely on the internet for their stories and avoid verifying the facts.
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Wikipedia is based on user generated content. This means that it is highly likely that there are (and will be) issues associated with tens of thousands of people collaborate on producing content. As always, people need to take Wikipedia content with a pinch of salt.
(Pocket Link UK)