Pointed reactions after STOMP content producer fired for fabricated post
Text: Shah Salimat
Twenty-three-year-old content producer Samantha Ann Francis was sacked by the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Monday after posting a fabricated report about an SMRT train that was moving with one set of its doors open.
The public aired their opinions online, with many tweeting their disappointment towards Samantha and criticising STOMP for lax practices. The hashtag #STOMPgate has also trended on Twitter, referencing to the Watergate political scandal where the administration led by former United States president Richard Nixon tired to cover up its involvement in a government compound break-in.
Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division, sent a letter on Sunday to SMRT's interim CEO Tan Ek Kia. In it, he called the report as "erroneous" before apologising "unreservedly" to SMRT on behalf of his staff.
In his apology statement, STOMP editor Azhar Kasman expressed his regret at a staffer breaching "professional ethics" by posting the report in question. He said: "I would like to assure the public and all STOMP readers that the website does not tolerate such unethical behaviour."
Azhar also mentioned that STOMP will be reviewing operating procedures and "will do everything we can" to prevent further incidents from occurring. Blogger Darryl Kang tweeted at @dk that he was "more excited" by the comment to review than the apology.
Former associate editor of The Straits Times Bertha Henson blogged about how she had "wondered what would happen if a fake, scandalous, libellous picture" was posted on STOMP. In a more recent post, she stressed that the onus is on the journalist and the media outlet to fact check a story from the source before it is published.
Twitter has been abuzz with reactions on Samantha and STOMP. Richard Tan, who tweets at @vinyarb, said "You're a content producer, not content copy and paster." @ackabr goes one step further and urged SPH to "rethink the concept and purpose behind STOMP".
Samantha is also an entertainment writer for online magazine Fever Avenue. The site's entertainment sub-editor Ho Guo Wei declined comment on the issue. xinmsn tried to contact Samantha for a statement but she did not reply to our queries.
It is understood that Samantha will return to Nanyang Technological University to complete her degree in English Language and Literature. It is not known if she was an intern or a contract employee at SPH.
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you make the wrong move. it will be sensational if the facts are true - you will be famous, but now you are famous for the wrong reason.where is your integrity?