In late 2011 Daily Mail once again demonstrated irresponsible journalistic practises.
This time it was about the famous Amanda Knox case.
Now it is all fine and dandy if you want to write something up to get to the publishing moment quicker than your competition.
But completely misreporting due to such haste is not acceptable.
And that’s precisely what happened.
Knox had one the appeal against her conviction for murder.
But the Daily Mail website rushed to upload the article where the headline said the exact opposite: her appeal had been turned down.
So essentially, the Daily Mail writers and editors already had a prediction in mind for what the outcome of the case would be.
And they prepared their piece accordingly and pushed the publish button to get that SEO juice going as quickly as possible.
But that was not the worst part.
The headline expressed its version of Knox’s facial expressions, saying she looked stunned.
They didn’t stop there.
The piece went into vivid and emotional details of Knox and her family’s despondence at the decision.
All about the decision that never even happened!
And there were some quotes in there as well related to what prosecutors had said.
Such fabrication was nothing but a sad reflection of the sensationalism journalists are so often accused of.
It was as if a fiction writer had written the article and not a responsible and mature journalist.
Understandably the Press Complaints Commission took Daily Mail to task for this behaviour.
The newspaper apologised for its “mistake” and tried to defend itself by saying that others in the industry had made a similar error while reporting the same case.
And while that was true, the Daily Mail’s competitors never went so far as to ultimately make up how people in the court were behaving to events that didn’t happen.
That’s what made the Daily Mail stand out from the rest.
So the apology was there, but it wasn’t very impactful because it didn’t address the right issue.