Friday, October 08, 2004

Once again, CBS News doesn't know when a document was first produced

The major media is now reporting that Britney Spears finally filed her marriage certificate, so she's legally and officially married. (I know, I know, who cares about that story?) But Google News reports conflicting renditions:

Huh? The CBS story asks the question, and the story answers it. What's going on here? Here's the CBS lead:

Huh? CBS offers a date of October 8 above this leading news item, but the piece itself is dated September 23. (Adding confusion, CBS cites an October 4 issue of People; no doubt the issue came out September 23.) The Google News clustering tool doesn't know it's an old article, and, whatever algorithm it uses to pick the lead version of the story puts CBS' out-of-date coverage ahead of the breaking news coverage by other outlets who have the current scoop.

Now here's the fun part: CBS itself has the updated story, later on the very same Web page!

Memo to CBS and Google: you can't always trust the timestamps that content management systems assign to documents.

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