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The Media

What Do We Do When the Internet Mob Is Wrong? 361

New submitter cornicefire writes "By now most people have heard the news and seen the picture of the boy who was killed over the new Nike sneakers. There are Facebook pages devoted to fist-shaking protests about materialism and greed. Yada yada yada. But while the scuffles over the shoes were real, the death was not. The photo was just a stock photo of some kid in a lab. We know this because of some old school reporters — Steve Earley and Justin Fentin of the Baltimore Sun. In the rush to celebrate crowdsourcing, many of us pooh-pooh the old media as 'gatekeepers,' but there are times when keeping that gate locked is a good idea. After all, if one of the crowd discovered the error, the signal would barely rise above the noise. There are people claiming that anyone questioning the facts is being disrespectful. Is there something we can do about the mobocracy? How can we support the best traditions of journalism while fixing the worst? How can we nurture accuracy?"

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