Even the professionals make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up too much…
The Editor of the Evening Standard was said to have been ‘devastated’ after a member of staff tweeted a picture of the embargoed front page last week, detailing information about the budget half an hour before George Osborne took to the House of Commons to announce it.
The Standard’s political editor, Joe Murphy issued a swift Twitter apology, but it was seemingly too late. By the time the Chancellor stepped up, members of the opposition were waving photocopies of the front page in his face, and looking up the page on their phones.
The journalist who sent the tweet and broke the embargo has been suspended and an investigation is underway in the first budget leak since 1947.
As the votes came rolling in for the 2000 General Election, Gore was a cert to win by all the exit polls and prediction data. All the main news channels in their desperation to be the first to call it, unanimously predicted that the current vice president would take the presidency.
A few hours later, as the official votes from pivotal state Florida started to come in, the channels backtracked and supported Bush at around 2am EST, but by a small margin. A few hours later, the state was announced too close to call (0.25-0.50) yet again with just a couple of hundred votes in it, and a state recount was automatically conducted. The recount began, but then it was ordered to be halted by the Supreme Court, and the original count was used. The state and the Presidency was eventually handed (reluctantly) to George W. Bush, who was inaugurated a few weeks later.
Incumbent president Harry Truman was tipped to lose the 1948 election to Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. An early Chicago Daily Tribune announced the expected result in an early edition with the headline ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’.
A delighted Truman was pictured holding the incorrect newspaper, labelled ‘the world’s most famous newspaper error’ when the results were finally announced, and the Tribune withdrew the issue, publishing a second edition shortly after.
In 1989, The Sun ran a front page story on the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 football fans during a Liverpool vs. Nottingham City match, which was based on false information. Police officers claimed the fans were to blame for the crushing, in a smear campaign by senior officers to cover up the story.
23 years later in 2012, The Sun issued an apology alongside a new front page ‘The Real Truth.’ They noted that their reporting of Hillsborough was ‘the blackest day in this newspaper’s history.
Steve Messham reported to Newsnight that he was a victim of sexual abuse at a Wrexham care home in the 70s. The programme implied it was Lord McAlpine, despite the fact that the Watergate investigation had rejected the claims in 1997. The fact was left unchecked by many editors, and the broadcast aired.
The BBC director general George Entwistle resigned after the uproar, and was given a £450,000 pay off after just eight weeks in the job.
In a common mistake made by news organisations around the world, Iranian company Far News Agency reported an Onion story as truth last year when they wrote that a recent poll had placed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as more popular than US President Obama. The Onion’s dry humour was definitely lost on them there.
An exclusive story about a government minister announcing that the Queen should be given a yacht for her diamond jubilee was their lead story. They combined it with an image of the sinking of a major Italian cruise ship, which should have been enough to put Her Majesty off sailing for a while.
Just to clarify, the Guardian defended their decision to publish this dual front-page story last year, but I think it’s hilarious, even if it wasn’t a mistake.
Guy Goma has just turned up for an interview for a job at the BBC. He was probably pretty nervous already. Next thing he knew, he was being interviewed about changes to the online music industry live on BBC News 24 in 2006.
Looking considerably horrified as he is announced on air, Guy carries on like a pro answering the questions that should have been saved for technology journalist Guy Kewney.
Just last week, The Times’ Football Editor, Tony Evans, admitted that the publication has been in the wrong publishing a story that Qatar was to allegedly launch a ‘Dream Football League’, a story based on a spoof.
The newspaper has since launched an investigation as to how the information remained unchecked before publication.
Newspaper readers not familiar to the Liverpool Echo’s layout may have been confused by the following front page, with a banner announcing rock-indie band The Killers to play the city’s venue pictures just underneath the main splash about 3 who appeared in court the same day charged with murder. Unfortunate placing indeed.