7. How did you verify G.S’s story? Or confirm he worked at HP? Are you willing to have him contact us, so we can verify him?
At the time I met him I didn’t really question it, why would anyone say they worked for HP when they didn’t? Plus that particular party was (in theory) difficult to get into without industry connections. And over the years his emails displayed accurate tech knowledge. When I contacted him for the HP story, everything he told me (via email) fit perfectly with what was being said by other people within the company. My best guess now is that he has a relation or friend who works/worked for HP. That’s just a guess – he may also just follow HP news and gossip for reasons I can’t even begin to guess.
I assume you know that G.S. provided a bio, at Jason Pontin’s specific request, which I forwarded to Pontin when I submitted the story on 2/14. I was told that the bio would be vetted – Pontin made a point of telling me that. I can forward the email to you if you need it.
The bio listed G.S’s education and current professional affiliations. I found out the bio hadn’t been verified only after the story ran two weeks later and HP questioned it. I don’t always do backgrounder on sources, but in a single-source, anonymous source piece attacking a prominent company and businessperson, I certainly would have done a quick check of the bio info had I thought Tech Review didn’t plan to do so.
I had told G.S. the bio would be vetted, so he may have assumed we would have figured out it was a scam before publishing. Again, that’s only (and obviously) a guess – I have no idea what he was thinking.
8. In Rage Against the Machines, how and when did you contact Manhattan graphic designer Jim Heedles about computer rage? Does he live in Manhattan? Does he work for a firm or independently? Do you have his contact information?
I sent an email to about a dozen friends asking for stories about computer ‘abuse’ and requesting they forward the email along to their friends if they wanted to. I got maybe a couple of dozen replies, opted to use Heedles for no particular reason, there were several similar tales among the emails. I did not retain these emails, as I thought I wouldn’t need them after the story ran. Given that it was a light-hearted supporting quote in the midst of an obviously humorous story I didn’t ask Heedles where he worked or lived. I did vet the professor whose comments are central to the story.
9. In Race for the Ultimate Car Hacks, how and when did you contact Mark Simnon? Is this spelled correctly, or should it be Simon? What kind of law does he practice and where is he practicing and where does he live? Do you have his contact information?
I didn’t retain emails from Simnon – or from any of the sources used in the car hacks piece. I no longer have his contact info. I believe he contacted me after reading stories I’d done for Wired News, but I’m not certain. I’ve sent emails to two PR firms who I sometimes get legal contacts from to ask if I might have made initial contact through them.