Last night on Media Watch there was a piece on the recent campaign by TCO in which they released a piece of content around “texting based disorders” being experienced by teens, such as textephrenia and post-traumatic text disorder. The release was picked up by numerous large scale media outlets and published as news.
The Media Watch piece took the attitude that what TCO did was unscrupulous and wrong. It asserted that TCO & Boost Mobile had misled the public.
Stepping back from what has already happened lets actually think about what was done here. TCO published a press release which clearly stated the research was from Boost Mobile. The paper had ridiculous names like textephrenia and post-traumatic text disorder. To me, if you’re over the age of 16 this should ring a fair few warning bells as the names alone reek of satire and any release or piece of ‘research’ that comes from an interested party should be viewed with a certain level of skepticism.
From my 2 cents all blame sits with the media outlets. It would have taken 1 phone call and 2 minutes of research to de-bunk the report and save themselves the embarrassment of being caught out for publishing this. I saw someone on Twitter say that to blame the media entirely is akin to blaming the victim of a conman for being ripped off, however I would disagree. In life your job not to thoroughly investigate everything you do, there is no need for you to find out the origin of the lettuce on your sandwich at lunch, as a journalist the ONLY thing you are really paid to do is source information and ensure it is credible. If journalists aren’t doing their jobs what exactly are they being paid for?
Full disclosure: I am friends with the team at TCO though have never done business with them
Tim over at Mumbrella did some actual research and spoke to people and came up with a much better post around this issue in which he points out that TCO didn’t actually issue the press release – though he agrees with my key points, which is what really matters now, isnt it?