The name "Shanda Lear" was so funny,
they didn’t realize the whole thing was a joke.
A guy in the UK named Jody Kirton inadvertently pranked the Daily Mail website with a gag photo he created. Here’s how he did it:
The snow photo started as a joke between friends, because we were fed up with people getting excited over a little flutter of snow, so we were posting old photos of deep snow and saying it was this week in nearby locations!
I went a stage further and edited the photo and put the BBC banners onto the still image. I changed the text to make it more realistic for today, including the year.
Then I added a local place, which is a few miles from where I live, and a funny name. (I have used similar names in past when texting radio stations, like Neil Lingdown, Benny Fitzraud, Jack Nife etc).
I then saved the static jpg image onto a memory stick and plugged it into my TV.
Then it sat there looking like a paused TV channel, so I took the actual photo with my BlackBerry and posted it to my PhlexMedia Facebook page.
From there, even though it was only on his Facebook page, it was picked up and published as this real story by the Daily Mail website:
Not a name to make light of! BBC News shows picture taken by viewer called Shanda Lear.
It was meant to draw attention to the heavy snowfall which has started to blanket parts of the UK.
But when a viewer’s picture was shown on BBC News, all eyes were quickly diverted to the rather illuminating name of the person who sent it in.
Below the scene of snow-covered cars along a misty street in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, the name Shanda Lear popped up, much to the amusement of those watching…
Obviously, fact checking is not a core competency at the Daily Mail.
Mr. Kirton was so amused, he’s wondering how he can do more hoaxes.
Interview with a hoaxster: How I fooled the Daily Mail with fake pic, Poynter>>