Wired News Report On Michelle Delio Raises Issues With 24 Stories

This hits close to home as a contributor to Wired News since August 2003, albeit a much less prolific one than Michelle Delio, who wrote more than 700 articles from 2000 through March 2005. Wired News asked columnist and NYU professor Adam Penenberg (who unmasked Stephen Glass as a fabulist) to review Delio’s work after the MIT Technology Review Online removed two of her articles from its web site following questions about the existence of a source. The results of the first part of the review are in: Penenberg and his grad students could not find all or some of the sources for 24 stories  — approximately 15 percent of the 160 articles reviewed. Delio stands by her work; she was interviewed by AP.

Unlike MIT, Wired News will not remove the articles: "By keeping these stories posted and clearly marked, we hope that our readers can help identify any sources whom we cannot track down, opting instead to append them and leave." The remaining  Delio articles will be reviewed, with notes added to the archived versions "as appropriate."

As a result of the questions surrounding some of Delio’s work, Wired News will require all freelancers to submit contact information with every story and will allow anonymous sources only with "justification."

Wired News managing editor Marty Cortinas told me via IM that staffers will be held to the same anonymity standards but will be required to provide contact info only "on demand." When I expressed concern about presenting an image that freelancers are somehow more prone to problems than staffers, Marty replied: "They are not. But we have less control over what they do and how they do it."

The bulk of this was posted first on paidContent.org, then deleted and moved here.

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