Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hottest summer on record! But records only date back to 1950.

Updated 18/3/2010-see outcome below
ABC HEADLINE: "WA on track for hottest summer on record" news online 28/2/2010

ABC REPORTED: Uncredited report on ABC news reports that "The Bureau of Meteorology says Western Australia will have had its hottest summer on record by the end of today."

THE COMPLAINT: ABC neglected to include the following statement from the BOM press release available HERE that states: "The state-wide records date back to 1950." This important fact allows readers to put a better perspective on the nature of the "record".

OUTCOME:Thank you for your email regarding the ABC News online report WA on track for hottest summer.

Your concerns have been investigated by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC.  We have reviewed the broadcast, assessed it against the ABC’s editorial standards and sought and considered material provided by ABC News. 

Audience and Consumer Affairs is satisfied that is accurate for the report to state that Western Australia is on track to record its hottest summer ever.  That means the hottest since records were first kept.

Your belief that the report should have included the fact that state records date from 1950 is duly noted.

The ABC Editorial Policies are available online at the attached link;

Please be assured that your comments have been duly noted.

COMMENT: As physicist Richard Feynman once said, "“In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another”. This was scientists, but it equally applies to journalists, unless of course they intend to become activists.

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