Serene Branson: The Sun changes its story – but not the URL

Serene Branson Grammys Stroke story 3am

It appears last week’s guidance from the PCC on correcting URLs as well as the contents of stories has not reached The Sun. Serene Branson’s on-air slurring was initially mocked by the tabloid with the headline “Grammy’s reporter goes gaga”. When it emerged that the presenter may have* suffered from a stroke the article was rewritten – but not the URL:

sun_SereneBranson_URL

The Daily Record, meanwhile, have changed their URL as well as the headline (or their content management system has done it for them). 3am haven’t changed anything (see image at top).

A further issue occurs here too: comments posted on the original Sun story remain, but now – under a now more sober report – these appear insensitive.

More recent commenters can be seen criticising these older comments, and without any notice on the article that it has been updated, those commenting under their real names could argue that their reputations are being damaged as a result.

Certainly there’s an ethical issue here: if you change a story so substantially that original comments now no longer apply, should you remove them?

Via Dave Lee, whose post ‘Serene Branson: The disturbing viral that shames us all‘ should also be read.

*UPDATE: The station website says she was examined by paramedics but not hospitalized. “Her vital signs were normal” and “she says that she is feeling fine this morning”.

6 thoughts on “Serene Branson: The Sun changes its story – but not the URL

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Serene Branson: The Sun changes its story – but not the URL | Online Journalism Blog -- Topsy.com

    1. Donald

      you are an insensitive ass. if your mother called your cell phone and this was what your heard on the other end, you tell me how you’d react. grow up.

      Reply
  2. Neil Sanderson

    First, when an article is fundamentally altered, as this one was by the Sun, it should not be kept on the original URL. That leads to reader confusion (e.g. the URL and the headline not matching and the comments being no longer in context).

    But it does two things for the publisher: it erases evidence of the original (insensitive) story and it capitalizes on referral traffic to the original (insensitive) story. Good reasons, if you don’t care much about being honest with your readers.

    If the Sun had created a new article, the comments on the original article would still be seen in their proper context, and we wouldn’t have to talk about removing comments.

    Second, what is wrong with the Sun (yes, that’s a rhetorical question) that they would have published such rubbish in the first place?

    Reply
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