No, We Didn’t Report a New Bedford Student Has the Coronavirus
Let me start off by saying it's absolutely ridiculous that I even have to write this.
For the past few hours here at WBSM, as we're working hard trying to get you the latest information on coronavirus-related closings and cancelations and other important news, our inbox has been blowing up with people sending in a screenshot that is all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in which WBSM allegedly reported that a New Bedford High student has been diagnosed with the coronavirus COVID-19.
First off, thank you to everyone who sent it in, knowing that it didn't look right. Let me be clear right now: WE NEVER REPORTED ANY SUCH THING. This image going around social media is a doctored screenshot to make it look like we wrote it.
I have always hated the term "fake news," because it's a slap in the face to all of those hard-working journalists who report correctly and without bias, but yet still have the stories they toiled over dismissed by those who simply want to not believe the reality being presented before them.
But this screenshot is the very definition of "fake news," and that's the last thing we need going around in a time like this, when information is so critical and there will be a barrage of misinformation coming from all directions. People turn to us for the truth because we've built up 70 years of credibility and trust.
Oh, and we also know how to use spellcheck, too.
Here is the screenshot that is making the rounds on social media (tilted to make it easier to read):
And here is a screenshot I just took of our actual story:
As you can see, it is very different information. There was nothing written about a student having COVID-19, nor anything about "testing EVERY student."
Not to mention, the WBSM News staff knows how to spell "confirmed" correctly, and would never stylize "New Bedford High School" as "Newbedford Highschool." And even if a typo got through, it's my job as Digital Managing Editor to review all posts on our website and correct any errors.
Nice try, though.
And for those who still may not be convinced, here is Superintendent Anderson's original letter: NBPS_COVID-19_Letter_trilingual_3-2-20.
We have one guiding principle when it comes to the information we get as journalists: trust, but verify. You should do the same. Trust that if a student did have the coronavirus, we would be sure to report, but all you have to do when you see a screenshot that doesn't seem right is go to our website and verify whether or not we actually reported it.
The easiest way to get the actual true news about the SouthCoast and the coronavirus is to download the WBSM app, so you can read the original stories easily and get breaking news alerts when something critical does happen.