… most of the stories on Daily Mail are just great stories you may not have seen anywhere else, they appeal to anyone anywhere.
That’s a statement from Taylor Lorenz, the head of social media for MailOnline/The Daily Mail, in a pleasant and unchallenging interview with Capital New York.
She is talking about the organization that (just off the top of my head) recently invented a story about George Clooney that it had to retract, apologized to J.K. Rowling for false accusations, and also published what my Poynter colleague Kristen Hare deemed a "fictional account of a real trial."
Oh, and last year MailOnline’s global chief marketing officer admitted that they sometimes publish made up stories.
Yes, great stories you won’t see anywhere else! Because they aren’t true.
I and others at Poynter have long been cataloguing the plagiarism, scraping, fabrications and otherwise unethical work by MailOnline. (Also see here.) It could be a full-time beat if someone wanted to sift through the hundreds of items published by the site each day.
Aside from the fabricated material, there are also MailOnline stories about things that actually happened, which are often lifted from other sites.
It was only relatively recently that MaiOnline began including hyperlinks back to other media sources when the site used their reporting. There are still times when no link is offered. The site is also frequently called out for plagiarism and other offences.
Let me also say for the record that I think MailOnline has gotten better with giving credit, and it doesn’t seem to commit plagiarism as frequently. I’d love to see both trends accelerate. And I think holding MailOnline journalists’ and executives’ feet to the fire is one way to do that. They still have real work to do to elevate the quality of their work, and they shouldn’t get a pass to make questionable statements like the one above.
Just the other day, for example, the site was called out for ripping off the concept and images curated for a Business Insider story about the escapades catalogued by the Rich Kids of Instagram Tumblr:
There’s nothing proprietary about the idea of curating some of the more gaudy images from that Tumblr. This admittedly isn’t important, original journalism. But MailOnline’s approach was simply to take the same images that the Business Insider reporter chose for her story and fill them in with new captions, and some additional information about the Tumblr. Sure beats having to choose your own images, or come up with your own idea. And there’s no link/hat tip offered to Business Insider.
So, no, “most” of the stories on MailOnline are not “just great stories you may not have seen anywhere else.”
They are often stories you may very well have seen somewhere else, or even stories that aren’t true.
Correction July 22, 11:50 am ET: I originally and incorrectly called Lorenz the social media “editor” for the Mail. She is actually the head of social media for the organization.