Why Can’t ABC Journos Get Simple Web Descriptions Right?

February 16, 2010

Or maybe it’s just ABC Journalists with the first name of Tony?

On Q&A last week (the school children vs the PM episode) Tony Jones fumbled the name of iiNet, and suggested that people had been downloading pirated movies from “iiNet’s website.”

The biggest copyright case in Australia in years, and he doesn’t understand that iiNet is a carriage provider and was not providing the content at all.

Then this morning, Tony Eastley on AM…where do you start here (transcript here.)

Police in Queensland are working with Interpol to investigate a website that was set up after the stabbing death of the 12 year old Brisbane boy.

Um, no, it wasn’t a website set up, it was a page, or specifically a group on Facebook. One page on a website of hundreds of millions of pages.

Overnight Queensland Police began an investigation and officers worked to dismantle the site.

What, QLD police worked to dismantle Facebook?

Emily Bourke with that report and Queensland Police have told AM the website has now been taken down.

What, Facebook has been taken down. OMG.

Side note: the report claimed they had no idea who had made the attack; without having checked, it doesn’t take an expert to guess that readers of a certain website did it for the lulz.

3 responses to Why Can’t ABC Journos Get Simple Web Descriptions Right?

  1. Thank you for putting this so succinctly, Duncan. It really is basic stuff, and journalists are continually making category errors of this kind. It's inexcusable. iiNet should sue for defamation. 😉

  2. Hmm, I think yr making far too much out of this. The first is a genuine mistake. No excuse.
    The second – the distinction between website and web page, is a pretty subtle one and there's a lot of grey area. How do you define a website? A particular server? A particular URL? Domain name? But sites can have multiple servers and servers can contain multiple sites. A URL can define a domanin, a page, an individual page or page element.A domain can include multiple, entirely unrelated businesses or ideas or ventures, created by multiple editors/sources.
    So your heavy heapings of sarcasm are a bit overdone. Website, web page, cmon, everyone knows what they were referring to here.
    In Web 2.0, when users dynamically shape and interact with the content of other people's creations, the language of Web 1.0 is almost necessarily going to fail.
    So in a way you're just as wrong as the ABC.

  3. Rubbish, Nick.

    Sure, it's easy to think up pathological edge cases where it might be possible to see some collection of URLs as one website or several. But in the vast majority of cases, including this one, the difference between a “page” and a “site” is completely clear.

    We're talking about either a single thing in a collection of things which is bound together within a coherent presentational structure, or we're talking about the collection as a whole.

    The thing is, “everyone knows” isn't true. There's plenty of people struggling with this stuff, and sloppy work by the media doesn't help.

    Mind you, revisiting the story indicates it's not Tony Eastley's fault. He would just have been reading reporter Emily Bourke's words.