How many Daily Mail editors does it take to correctly attribute an article?

A few days ago I highlighted a story, based on a press release from an ‘extra-marital dating website’, which took two Daily Mail journalists to write – even though 71% of the story was copied exactly from the original press release. You can catch up on the details here if you missed it.

Well, it appears there may be more to this than I first thought – after I tweeted the two journalists involved directly, I had the following exchange with Andrea Childs:

It’s the first time I’ve seen this press release or article. No idea why my name is on it… I do interviews for YOU mag so maybe name left on a template from old feature put online? I am going to check.

This, then, asks an interesting question: did the Daily Mail really attribute a story to a journalist who had seen neither the press release nor the finished article? Simply by neglecting to delete her name from a submission template?

If so, we’re in the quite amusing position whereby the Daily Mail are so used to copy/pasting entire articles, they’ll even copy whatever name is on the submission form – and their fact-checking skills are so atrophied as to entirely miss the error.

This from the most-read news website in the world, too. Interesting.