April 21, 2005

a further update on the michelle delio affair

This just in from AP: Review Raises Doubts About Tech Reporter

Fact-Checking Investigation Raises Doubts About Tech Reporter's Sources, Accuracy

BOSTON (AP) -- A fact-checking investigation commissioned by MIT's Technology Review magazine has raised further doubts about sourcing and accuracy in stories written by a freelance journalist.

Just three of 10 stories Michelle Delio wrote for Technology Review's Web site could be verified by a journalism professor hired by the magazine to examine the stories published between December and March.

We've been following this with interest. One good thing to come of it: I'm pleased to note that "[Technology Review] has since tightened its fact-checking practices for the online edition." Well, yeah.

Update: TR's Independent Investigation Findings.

Posted by Gene at April 21, 2005 04:51 PM


Years ago, Michelle Delio met a man at an industry party at COMDEX who claimed to be an HP engineer. This was an invitation only party for the tech industry and press, so no reason to doubt his word. She stayed in touch with him via email for a few years and, when Carly Fiorina was fired and Michelle was asked by editors at Technology Review if she knew anyone at HP, she contacted her source, who provided some intriguing comments for her story. The editors liked the comments so much, they asked if the source would be willing to do an OP-ED. The source agreed to provide the OP-ED but wanted Michelle to write it for him since English is not his first language. In any event, when Michelle submitted the story, she also submitted the bio for the source, which included easily verifiable information in it. The bio was never checked out (by the people whose job it is to do so) and the story was run. As everyone knows NOW, the bio information the source provided turned out to not be verifiable, at least according to HP and the indpendent review of the article. It remains unclear who the source really is, if he ever worked at HP, why he provided false information, etc. What is clear is that Michelle made no attempt to conceal her source from the editors or frustrate the verification process. She freely provided all information and everything was done above board. Nobody, to date, has disputed the veracity of the facts related in these stories. The idea that Michelle simply invented the source is absurd. If that were the case, it would have been much easier simply to say that the source was anonymous...she could have refused to identify him and been depicted as a champion of the first ammendment...a hero, not a pariah. Why would she freely submit a completely false bio unless she was unafraid of the fact-checking process? If the editors at Technology Review had informed her that they could not verify her source and were not going to run the story, that would have been the end of the story. The sloppiness here was on the part of Technology Review, not Michelle Delio. In any event, she never willfully misled anyone or knowingly reported 'fake' news.

If you really want the whole story on this, you should ask Michelle yourself.

Posted by: Joe Gamache at May 11, 2005 06:42 PM

Well, I'm all for the benefit of the doubt but you have to admit it doesn't look good. Read a fair-minded assessment at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1371054/posts

Posted by: Dermot McGrath at May 18, 2005 02:13 PM
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