Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Secondary Sources: THE WARZONE
For my blog, I have a pre-post policy to keep my news accurate:
-News must be from an official source. (Granted, an "official source" in music writing is often a press release, but it's cold fact, nonetheless, selling something or not).
-If it is not posted by an official source, I must be able to find at least three trustworthy sources to back the information before I believe it.
-NEVER trust a rogue statement from a Twitter or Tumblr user floating in space without a link. It's PROBABLY a rumor.
-Avoid stories with "facts" that cannot be confirmed at all costs.
I don't think it takes a genius to know better than to trust something on first-read. However, when a source is perceived as "reliable," people do, and chaos blossoms through the online world.
For example, the U.K.'s NME is a magazine of which many think favorably. However, in recent months, the magazine's website has snipped quotes from the band upon which I primarily report to make fear-stirring implications out of statements that, taken at their own value and not condensed, definitely were not saying what the magazine made them imply.
Not cool, NME.
There was an easy way to figure out the original quotes (NME had used secondary sources): I searched for them! It's ridiculously simple, but the online reader is both lazy and apt to jump to Twitter and re-post the incorrect information.
As a person who oversees some communities within a music fanbase, it makes my life Hell. I'm always sure to go right back at the offending spinners with the facts, tell them why they're wrong, and - if possible - make them change it. It feels like war sometimes.
Check out what I call my battle process in this online world.
In the aforelinked (I know it's not a word, but it should be) blog entry, I describe the process I went through in tracing back sources to find out how misinformation was spread.
I found a misquote on a website which had not linked to the secondary source from which it had gotten information. Ah-ha! Indicator one of mischief: quotations that you know the source you're reading didn't get itself without attribution to the source that actually did get them.
Eventually, I spoke to the writer and traced it to another trusted music magazine that should know better, Metal Hammer.
Moral of the story: Don't read anything just once. Keep looking. Even magazines which post online content seem to have a disregard for truth in favor of drama and hits.