It's got to be Murphy's Law that once a reporter publishes a trend story, an even better example of that trend is destined to come along. So it was that a real doozy came to light only days after I published a collection of the top Web-publishing gaffes. And this one takes the cake:
A nice little story hit the Web Thursday talking up China's long-awaited space mission and even including detailed dialogue between the astronauts, according to the Associated Press. Only problem was that the spacecraft hadn't even left the ground at the time the story came out.
The story was published by Xinhua, China's official news agency, in an apparent moment of clairvoyance. It was taken down after being up on Xinhua.com most of the day, the AP said.
A staffer at the agency later told the AP that the article, which had been dated September 27, was a "technical error."
The Shenzhou 7 mission, which is expected to feature China's first-ever spacewalk, did in fact take off successfully later Thursday (at least we think so--articles on the launch all cite Xinhua as their source).
But let's hope Xinhau at least comes up with some fresh quotes from the astronauts, maybe even ones that were actually said.