Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Former McClatchy reporter duped by Atlantic Swimmer Hoax

Jammie Wearing Fool tells how the Associated Press got duped into publishing a bogus story, written by a former Charlotte Observer reporter, about 56 year-old Jennifer Figge becoming the first woman to swim across the Atlantic.
The AP said Figge swam from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa to Trinidad (2,100 miles) in 25 days while escorted by a boat. She was said to have rested every night, and got back in the water in the morning  The story fell apart within days and has been exposed as a hoax.
A calculator and a little fact-checking would have prevented Danico Coto from falling for the hoax:
.... The real issue stemmed from the fact that swimming 2,100 miles in 25 days is impossible. (Some newspapers picked up on this.) It's infinitely more impossible when somebody only spends 21 minutes swimming during one of those 25 days. Michael Phelps swimming his fastest would take about 20 days to cover that distance. And that's his fastest pace, sustained for three weeks, without ever stopping. Impossible.

Yet, somehow, the AP ran the story even though a few seconds of thought and a pocket calculator was enough to disprove it.
See the original AP report by Danico Coto here. Red-faced correction by the AP here.  Apparently now employed by the AP, Coto worked at the Charlotte Observer for 5 years. At the Charlotte Observer she focused on immigration and helped create the Observer's first Spanish language web site. Awesome.


Anonymous said...

Ah! Another Mary Sanchez, and just as smart. Who say's McClatchy doesn't have a template?

Anonymous said...

The AP stinks, they also got a lot of the Iraq war reporting wrong. One of the good things about this news shakeout is that the liars are no longer the only game in town. Shake, shake, shake.

Anonymous said...

If Jennifer Lovin had written the story for AP she would have blamed Bush for forcing the woman to swim instead of riding in the boat because Bush hates women.

Anonymous said...

Cut and paste, cut and paste.

What an easy job to love. Real honest "reporters" huh?