Yesterday, New York magazine published an irresistible story about a 17 year old NY high school student who made a fortune investing in the stock market. The reporter even disclosed the exact number he was making, “Though he is shy about the $72 million, he confirmed his net worth in the ‘high 8 figures’”.
In an exclusive interview with the New York Observer last night, the Teen Wolf of Wall Street, Mohammed Islam, admitted to fabricating the entire story. He and his friend Damir Tulemaganbetov, who was also featured in the story, hired crisis PR firm, 5WPR and lawyer Ed Mermelstein of ReemBell & Mermelstein to help them get out of this mess.
Islam is still interested in investing and that’s the only thing that is true about the story. He runs an investment club at his high school which does only simulated trades. The simulated trades percentage was quite high in comparison to the S&P.
As for where the reporter got the $72m figure….Islam stated that he wasn’t sure. He admitted to leading her on and purportedly telling her that he made $72 million on the simulated trades. She must have not heard him correctly.
A Rape on Campus?
Just recently, journalism took a big hit after The Rolling Stones featured an article titled “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA”on November 19, 2014. The article, by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, told the story of Jackie, an 18-year-old freshman at Virginia’s renowned state university, whose dream date turned into three hours of being beaten and gang-raped on broken glass during a party at a frat house.
The article went viral, provoking headlines around the world and tons of revenue for the magazine. The outrage was what you’d expect. Police even opened an investigation.
And then on Dec. 5, Rolling Stone announced that “there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account.” Oops!
Louis Slungue Tricks ABC
Last summer, ABC news anchors were left red-faced after they fell for a prank caller talking ‘expertly’ about a major water main break on the University of California, Los Angeles campus.
The joker called into ABC 7 in Los Angeles pretending to be employed by Department of Public Works, Louis Slungpue. Mr Slungpue talked in detail about the rupture to the anchors who failed to realize something was up. Even when he suggested cherry bombs as well as large dumps as primary causes, the anchor interviewing him maintained a professional manner.
View interview here.
How Journalists Can Learn From This
It’s not hard to see why journalists jump at the chance of publishing articles on hot, juicy topics. They should always check their facts first before leading people to believe that something was true when it was not. Unfortunately, many of them get too excited and strike gold before the transfer is complete.
Since 2010, hundreds of fact-checking websites have sprung up all over the world.FactCheck.org was started in 2003 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker and the Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact were launched in 2007. We encourage all content writers as well as publishers in the online marketing world to utilize these sources in order to bring the most accurate news possible to their readers.
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