Shell email news release hoax is cautionary tale for 'churnalists'

A cautionary tale yesterday for journalists tempted to churn out press releases – after hoaxers sent out a fake email claiming that Shell planned to halt controversial deep water drilling off the coast of Nigeria.

According to Reuters, the email looked bona fide and the hoaxers had even gone to the trouble of manning a switchboard to take calls from journalists.

Reuters:

Asked about the reasons for staging the hoax, the spokeswoman named on the bogus release, who said she was new to the company’s media relations team, seemed surprised and said “I’ll have to see what’s going on.”

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