I wrote about a story that was featured on the BBC news website a few days ago. The first thing I do when writing a blog post about an online story is check the published date. This is because old stories sometimes resurface, and there’s no point in writing about something, from, say 2006. The BBC story was definitely new. I can’t put my life on it, but I’m 99.99% sure I checked the date and saw nothing wrong. Sadly, I didn’t take a screenshot of the date because there was nothing to take notice of in that regard (I did take one of the body of the article and am now kicking myself that it cuts off before the top). In addition, I didn’t get the story from the ‘most read’ section, where old stories often surface, I got it from a ‘featured’ sidebar. Again, no screengrab so no supporting evidence, sadly. Grr.
Anyhoo, I emailed the British Chiropractic Association to ask for a copy of the research which supports the silly stats claimed in the article. Today I get a reply from the BCA’s PR company, Publicasity, stating that they can’t provide the research because it’s from 2006. They are sending me the original press release, though.
That’s actually sort of reasonable, in that the market research standard is three years for data. Anything older than that can be considered out of date and no longer valid. But of course I was then puzzled about why the BBC would include stats from 2006. Either the BBC writer hadn’t checked the date of something they googled, or the BCA was sending out of date info, or some other reason I can’t think of.
So I went back to the original BBC article. Guess what! The date is now showing as
Page last updated atÂ 00:46 GMT, Tuesday, 28 November 2006
My first thought was that I’d screwed up and written about an old story. I have no evidence to the contrary. But I’m just so sure. Could it be possible that the BBC (perhaps after prompting from Publicasity?) have changed the date of the story? I don’t know. I don’t like to think that the BBC would publish a new story, realise it’s actually old, then try and change history rather than change the story. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps I’m right but this is standard behaviour. Perhaps I’m expecting too much of the BBC.
But…the BBC news site underwent a major redesign recently. The new/old story is in the new format: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6187080.stm
Stories on the BBC that were published in 2006 look like this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6058008.stm
So from that alone it looks to me that the BBC did publish this story recently. What gives?