Plenty of Spanish media reported today that Greenland lost most of its ice for four days this month, according to data from NASA satellites. A false report, based on real information issued in mid-afternoon yesterday by the U.S. space agency. The original press release tells how, from 8 to 12 July, “almost all the ice cover of Greenland, from the fine shores to more than 2 miles thick in the center, experienced some degree of fusion in surface, according to satellite measurements of three independent university scientists analyzed by NASA. ” Come on, what, where from the air had to be ice on the surface, it looked that there was water under ice. They normally that about half of the island present traces of surface melting in summer: most of that water refreezes quickly, but in coastal areas, part goes into the sea.
Many media have gone well beyond the note from NASA and presented a doomsday scenario in the style of The Day After Tomorrow , Roland Emmerich’s film in which global climate change to the beast suddenly. Thus, owners have been read and corrected-some-like “Greenland lost 97% of the ice in four days”, “97% of the Greenland ice cap melts in just four days” … And people, quietly on the beaches of the Cantabrian when, having melted all the ice in Greenland, sea level would have risen to 7 meters.
Efe has called his office, distributed to hundreds of Spanish-speaking media, “almost completely lost its Greenland ice sheet several days in July.” And the first paragraph reaffirms the false idea: “The Greenland ice covering usually came to disappear almost completely from the surface for several days this July, something that had not been detected since satellite observations began area thirty years ago. ” All that melting ice where it went? Or is that the water was magically block on the island contained by an invisible wall? I know there are stupid questions, but I am a journalist and letters.
Why these things happen? Why, especially when it comes to science, in the media we put both the leg? From my point of view of insiders , in cases like this can and must take several factors:
- The editor who writes the history and fluent in English or have no idea what it would say, what seems to have happened with the ticker Efe and the texts of some means.
- That, being a story of science and also alarming, or ask who covers this type of information in the middle or, if no such figure, with a scientist.
- That the head of the section to post holder will not squawk as its editor or can also be the case, decide to change it to something more shocking because it considers the origianl without force.
- Now that is never easy access to the original source, not made the slightest effort to consult.
- And if we talk about a website, there is one more dangerous than all the above together today in Twitter remembered my colleague Patricia Fernández de Lis , Director of matter : the existence of an automatic system for publishing content to hang material from agencies without any filtering, which exists in many ways.
The end result is wrong or false news that sacrifice the credibility of the media, its main asset, for the sake of the scoop, the owner shocking or both. By the way, if you want to read good information on this subject, I recommend the Agency SINC .