Monday, 16 April 2012

Herald Sun shift Logies leak blame away from Google

Further details have come to light surrounding the bout of premature e-publication Melbourne-based newspaper the Herald Sun experienced on Sunday night, after naming Hamish Blake online as the 2012 Gold Logie Winner before he received the award at the Logie Ceremony.
During an interview on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast this morning, Simon Pristel, Editor of the Herald Sun, said: “It turns out that Google had somehow searched into our system and found the story that was published in the paper but had never been published on the website”.

When Mr Pristel was questioned on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast; “Are you a bit worried that Google are inside your organisation? In a business that relies on leaks, are you disappointed that one leaked out of your building?”, Mr Pristel replied “Yeah look clearly at our end we’ve some sort of technical issue with the new iPad app which has allowed Google to go in and find an unpublished story, so that’s what we are trying to get to the bottom of today.”

If roles were reversed and a newspaper searched into someone else’s system, a voicemail box or computer for example, there would be loud cries of hacking.

As reported by The Australian, Google released a statement refuting these claims: "While we strive to provide the freshest, most relevant search results on the Logies and more, Google can only index material already published on the web."

The Twitter world today erupted into comments surrounding the “blame Google” mentality.

A lot of questions surrounding the leak surfaced and there was no one better to go to than the horses mouth itself, Editor of the Herald Sun, Simon Pristel.

When I contacted Mr Pristel today I received a very prompt response with some great updated information regarding the incident. In a statement sent by the Herald Sun:

“We have been able to do some further investigations today which shine more light on what went wrong.”

“The story was not published on the Herald Sun website or m-site or Tweeted by a Herald Sun employee. However, when it was placed into a holding environment to be pushed live after the embargo was lifted, the story inadvertently was able to be indexed by Google and therefore became searchable.”

“In effect, a page that was meant to be hidden, that was never intended to see the light of day until after an embargo was lifted at 12midnight, was inadvertently published to the web and became searchable via Google.”

“During the live testing, a link to an embargoed story naming the winner was momentarily created (by the Herald Sun) and (became searchable) by Google.”

“Google is in no way responsible for what happened. We did not intend to imply any error on Google’s behalf.”

“The error was certainly accidental in that there was no deliberate intention to break the strict Logies embargo.”

“We apologise and hope it did not ruin viewers’ overall Logies experience.”

Accidents do happen and this, as big as the accident may be, is understandable.

While mystery still surrounds where the writers of the leaked story got the official comment from Hamish Blake blaming his win on ‘Donkey voting’ (considering the award hadn’t been presented at the time the story went online), it is still good to see the Herald Sun have investigated the Logie leak and provided an update.