UK news agency regrets misusing Auschwitz picture

The mistake was picked up by Canadian journalist Craig Silverman, author of the award-winning book on press criticism 'Regret the Error.'

October 19, 2010 05:58
2 minute read.
Controversial Auschwitz photo in train article

311_death camp in paper. (photo credit: 'Cambridge News' website)

LONDON – A leading news agency in the UK has apologized after it used a picture of the railway line leading to the gates of Auschwitz in a story about a woman verbally abused by passengers on a train in Wales.

The Press Association (PA), a national news agency supplying multimedia news content to an array of national and regional newspapers, television, radio and websites, covered the story which was used by the Cambridge News newspaper, owned by Illiffe News and Media group.

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The article was about a woman who had been subjected to verbal abuse by Cardiff City football fans on a passenger train in Wales last month. When reaching her stop and after failing to convince staff to call for police to intervention, Lisa Robinson from South Wales got off the train and subsequently stood in front of it, forcing the conductor to come to a halt at her local village station.

The report and accompanying photograph was used by the Cambridge News and picked up by the Press Gazette, a trade magazine for journalists and media professionals, who said the story had been fed to all the Illiffe group’s publications and websites.

“The story page in question was created from a Press Association feed to all the Illiffe newspaper websites of national stories – so it was PA’s fault, rather the Cambridge News,” the Gazette said.

The Press Association subsequently removed the photo and issued an apology.

“We apologize for any offence cause[d] by this unfortunate human error. The photograph was removed from the story as soon as we realized the mistake and we have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again in the future,” the agency said in a statement.

The mistake was also picked up by Canadian journalist Craig Silverman, author of the award-winning book on press criticism Regret the Error.

Silverman’s site, also named Regret the Error, has a running list of some humorous media errors.

He has also posted media corrections on coverage of Israel. For example, he cited a National Public Radio correction from July in which, “earlier versions of this story reported that Israel expelled the families of Turkey’s diplomats in the aftermath of Israel’s actions against a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. NPR should have reported that Israel recalled the families of its own diplomats from Turkey.”

Benjamin Weinthal in Berlin contributed to this report.

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