At the request of Technology Review, Inc., Susan Rasky agreed to oversee the fact checking of 10 articles by Michelle Delio that TR published online between December 16, 2004, and March 7, 2005. After conducting their own review, the editors at Technology Review had concerns regarding some of the sources and quotations in these articles.
Click here to see the report findings. What follows below is a point-by-point synopsis of eight stories – three which were fully verified and five that were not. There were two other stories that contained quantifiable errors. Click here to read Appendix B: The Future Shock and here to read Appendix C: The Invisible Fighter. Click here to read Appendix D: Delio’s responses to the report.
REPORT: Augmented Reality
Researched by Josef Sawyer
I had a phone conversation with Blair MacIntyre on 4/7/05, and he checked out as having been interviewed by reporter Michelle Delio. He said all his quotes and attributions were correct. He passed on Henrik Hedegaard’s information to Michelle Delio.
I had a phone conversation with Steven Feiner on 4/12/05, and he checked out as having been interviewed by reporter Michelle Delio. He said all his quotes and attributions were correct.
I did not make direct contact with Henrik Hedegaard, despite several attempts to reach him by phone. We did, however, exchange email correspondence. I sent him an email on 4/8/05 asking him to provide contact information and a time to call and speak with him. In an email response on 4/805 Hedegaard wrote:
I’m well aware of the article and I have a copy of the article myself.
All the facts are correct - I was quoted in relation to an exam project, ARDressCode, at the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
Quotations are based on information I personally submitted to Blair
MacIntyre, who the handed the information to Michelle (the writer).
Currently we have a scientific paper, regarding the project, in for review. If you want, I can send you a copy of the article.
For further information about the ARDressCode project, please refer to:
PS: I live in Denmark and my cell phone subscription doesn’t allow for cross country calls. Thus I cannot call you - sorry…
I sent a second email to Hedegaard on 4/8/05 asking for a number and time to contact him but no response came back. A phone call to the number (45) 8942-6123, which was provided by Technology Review Editor Brad King was made on 4/12/05 and there was no response or answering machine to leave a message. I sent Hedegaard a third email on 4/13/05 asking for contact info and a time to call.
From: “Club Dish” (CONTACT INFORMATION REMOVED)
To: “ ‘Josef Sawyer’ ” (CONTACT INFORMATION REMOVED)
Subject: SV: fact checker question
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 12:29:11 +0200
I wanted to wait until tomorrow, since by then we’ll have an answer to whether or not the article is accepted for publishing.
Thus, you’re not allowed to quote, publish nor distribute the attached pdf file in any way or form. Further, if it is accepted for publishing, it’s only a draft for the final version, and the quotes cannot be official. It can only be used as reference until the final version is ready…
In regards to the phone-call, my problem is that my subscription ddoes not allow for inbound nor outbound cross-border phone calls. Sorry.
Naturally you can mail me any question regarding the project.
REPORT: The Snow Man
Researched by Jonathan Jones
Matthew Sturm, a physical scientist with US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, verified on Thursday April 7 that he had spoken with Michelle Delio in late January after publishing his findings on the effects of cold weather.
After reviewing the article line by line, Sturm verified that the information included in the article is an accurate representation of his findings. He also did not dispute the quotes attributed to him.
John Cannon, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said he could not recall specifically speaking with Delio. But Cannon, who often speaks with the press, said it was possible he had spoken with Delio and did not recall it.
When read the statements, he did not dispute the comments or ask that the statements attributed to him be retracted. We believe the content in “The Snow Man,” article is based on real interviews and is accurate.
REPORT: Encrypt This
Researched by Carrie Lozano
Laird Brown: I spoke with Elissa Goodman, she’s the US press contact, on 4/4/05. She asked me to email her the quotes, which she passed on to Brown in Germany. He said they were correct.
Jim Schulyer: (PHONE NUMBER REMOVED) I spoke with Jim Schuyler on 4/4/05. He was a beta tester and is quoted twice. Michelle Delio did an email interview with him, which he still had, and he said his quotes were accurate.
Russ Housley: In the article, Housley is identified as “security area director for the Internet Engineering Task Force”. The article doesn’t disclose that he performed a study of the software as a paid consultant for Ciphire. Via email, he said his quotes were accurate, though he could not recall if Michelle Delio had interviewed him. At his request I have sent him Ms. Delio’s e-mail address so that he can check his records. I am waiting to hear from him again.