By Barbara Crown, Editor-in-Chief
It happens often. Someone will contact me or my staff and claim to have the "real story" on something that sounds like news. We always say "thank you very much" and start digging for corroborating evidence. One of the basic rules of good journalism is: if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out from another source before you publish it.
Just recently, we received a "news story" about poachers smuggling trophies from one country to another. Supposedly, those trophies were confiscated and released only when the well-connected outfitter used cash and influence to get them released. Wow! Juicy stuff, right?
The original source story for this information was written in a foreign language we don't read or speak fluently. So our first look was a Google computer translation. Something didn't seem right, but we started digging anyway. First, a native speaker who isn't in the hunting industry gave us a better sense of what the "story" actually said. Turns out it wasn't a legitimate news outlet but a blog by someone who seemed to bear frequent grudges. In other words, the "story" was a rant. She did, however, also caution us that corruption is rampant in the part of the world where this unfolded....