Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Stupid Journalists - Scrabble Rule Change?

During my time, I have known the real-world situation underlying quite a few news stories. And I can't remember a single one where the story has been reported accurately, except where they've just copied a press release. And even then, they sometimes manage to mess it up (and sometimes the press release wasn't completely accurate anyway).

I remember one case where a pupil of mine had followed someone else's instructions to make a robot which could sense when it was about to hit a wall and stop in time. Or it could have done, if the motor was powerful enough to move it. Cue a carefully worded press release suggesting that it could be made into a robotic guide dog (i.e. given a pretty awesome AI, more powerful motor, etc), a news sensation erupted, including an invitation to go on daytime television to demonstrate it.

However, this story just about takes the biscuit, and the BBC news website is far more trusted than their actual journalistic integrity warrants. Of course, they hadn't checked the story with the manufacturers, and here is the true story. If you can't be bothered checking the links - BBC report that the official rules of Scrabble are changing massively. Actual truth - a new game is being released which is a bit like Scrabble.

HT to Ben Green on this one.

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