A.P. gets hoaxed; ESPN’s ‘plagiarism problem’

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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

The Associated Press was served a steaming pile of crow yesterday after it reported on a major technology acquisition that turned out to be a hoax.

"Associated Press is withdrawing its story about a purported acquisition of ICOA Inc., a wireless and broadband internet provider, by Google Inc," reads the wire's apology.

"ICOA says the story is not true, and said a purported news release about the acquisition was a hoax. Google declined to comment, but a person close to Google with knowledge of the situation also said the report was not true. The person declined to be named because she wasn’t authorized by Google to speak on the record."

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But the A.P. wasn't the only outlet that got taken in.

The press release that the A.P. picked up was distributed via PRWeb, which issued its own statement on the matter.

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan takes a closer look at how PRWeb "helps distribute crap into Google and news sites":

In the past, you’d get a press release out and hope newspapers might pick up the story, often using the release as a basis for writing their own stories — ones that might be fact-checked, or sourced with others, or get turned into something other than a promotional item. Instead, with PRWeb and other services, you can get whatever you want published and distributed verbatim into a wide range of news sources.

And here's Gawker's Hamilton Nolan on "the perils of fake press releases":

It's foolish to expect the fundamental state of affairs here to change. What's called for is simply media literacy. If you read a quickie blog post based solely on a brief press release, do not assign it the same weight as a lengthy Wall Street Journal investigative story. And if you're enough of a gambler to place bets on these things, accept that you'll sometimes lose.

On a side note, we hear that the A.P. desk responsible for picking up the fake ICOA release was the same one that filed last year's Jeffrey Immelt tax refund story, which turned out to be a hoax propagated by activist pranksters The Yes Men.

On Capital...

New York hyperlocal startup DNAinfo launches in Chicago

In other news...

David Carr stands by his column on Israeli forces allegedly killing three journalists in Gaza. [BuzzFeed]

Two more journalists have been killed in Syria. [C.P.J.]

Inside The New York Times' R&D lab. [Adweek]

Howard Kurtz thinks the media is mean. [CNN.com]

The Guardian and the BBC are battling for traffic in New York. [paidContent]

Bloomberg Pursuits has a Conde Nast vet as its new editor. [W.W.D.]

Journalism pundits tackle ESPN's "plagiarism problem." [Deadspin]

The perfect holiday gifts for your media reporter friends. [I Want Media]

Quote of the day...

It became clear to us very early in our research that there's no such thing as the news industry anymore. Journalism has fragmented so quickly in terms of practice, skills, process, revenue and even output, that newsrooms are very different places from the factories of information they were only a few years ago. It feels like the right time to have a broad discussion, not about business models … but about what skills, structures and systems give us the best chance of creating good journalism.

Emily Bell discussing Columbia journalism school's new report, "Post-Industrial Journalism"

On Twitter...

On TV...

Jonah Peretti talks with Beet.tv about how BuzzFeed is averaging 30 million unique monthly visits but has no banner ads:

From our inbox...

The New York Times has partnered with the American Cancer Society in publishing a new book of survivor stories:

Cancer survivors from all walks of life responded to a New York Times request to send in a photo and answer the question, “how is your life different after cancer?” The responses make up a powerful new book from The Times and the American Cancer Society titled Picture Your Life After Cancer.

In the 96-page book, edited by Karen Barrow, web producer for the science desk of The New York Times, more than 200 people share their responses and photos. Picture Your Life After Cancer speaks to a reality that is at times frightening and lonely, joyful and beautiful, and filled with possibility.

“We received well over 1,000 stories from our readers who have had a cancer diagnosis and come out the other side,” remarked Karen Barrow. “We hope Picture Your Life After Cancer represents the truth and the amazing possibilities for life after cancer.”

“I am not among those who ascribe to the belief that cancer is some sort of gift, in any form,” writes Tara Parker-Pope, columnist and blogger for The New York Times in the foreword to the book. “It is a terrible disease. But I do believe that we can learn from the people who have experienced it. And that is essentially what this book is about.”

The stories shared are from adults, children, parents, siblings, partners, lovers and friends. What they share is their “new normal”—the reality of facing life after cancer. By turns inspiring, celebratory and surprising, this book explores the honest truth of life after cancer.

“Life is much more vibrant. Words have more meaning. Actions have more meaning,” said Robin B. Katz, a cancer survivor who is featured. “Butterflies, coffee, and bright blue skies seem so much more important than petty disagreements. Relationships are more important than how many hours a week I have worked. And every day is truly a gift.”

Complete with a section of information from the American Cancer Society about surviving and thriving after cancer and a resource guide for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis, this book serves as a reminder that there is in fact life after cancer.