EDITORIAL: Newswire safety is problem for all

Two main parties have taken a hit in the fallout from the phony press release that prompted a collapse in the share price of Emulex last week. The first is Internet Wire, a young, innovative PR newswire that has grown exponentially in the last two years, challenging the pricing structures of the old duopoly of Business Wire and PR Newswire.

Two main parties have taken a hit in the fallout from the phony press release that prompted a collapse in the share price of Emulex last week. The first is Internet Wire, a young, innovative PR newswire that has grown exponentially in the last two years, challenging the pricing structures of the old duopoly of Business Wire and PR Newswire.

Two main parties have taken a hit in the fallout from the phony press release that prompted a collapse in the share price of Emulex last week. The first is Internet Wire, a young, innovative PR newswire that has grown exponentially in the last two years, challenging the pricing structures of the old duopoly of Business Wire and PR Newswire.

The fact that a mole 'cracked' the security code at Internet Wire is obviously cause for concern. But is it being made a scapegoat? A source at Bloomberg said it was questioning its future use of Internet Wire.

To pass the buck like this is bad enough, but even more sickening is that the major newswires have sought to exploit this, when they too have been victims of similar phony releases.

The PR spokesman for one of these newswires went so far as to deny that it had ever been a victim, without bothering to check if this is the case.

And it gets worse. A journalist took the PR spokesman at his word and stated this information as fact in his so-called 'investigation.'

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, when a story gets published without an attempt to verify the information. Remember the false slurs published in the wake of Monicagate? Remember Ron's Angels? The days of single-source journalism are upon us.

But two things are clear: first, the reputation of established news outlets will continue to be damaged unless better procedures are put in place to verify information - particularly when it is so obviously price-sensitive.

Second, all the newswires have a security problem. For the sake of the credibility of the PR industry, they must address the issue collectively, as well as individually.



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