If there’s one thing journalists should know, it’s not to publish something from a satirical news website without checking it first. It’s a lesson industry magazine and website AdNews is reflecting on after publishing a story about The Betoota Advocate

For a short time this morning, the site published a full story based on a post from The Betoota Advocate claiming to be a legal letter from Cricket Australia over some of their coverage of the ball-tampering scandal.

The tweet, posted last night, featured a fairly obviously fake email from “Cricket Australia”, which threatened legal action over some of the website’s content, “particularly that podcast”. “We are under siege right now and you are NOT helping things,” the email supposedly read.

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Though the AdNews writer speculated the tweet could be a joke, the site published the story without comment from either the Betoota Advocate or Cricket Australia. The story was taken down shortly after it was posted.

When the story was still live, Cricket Australia confirmed to Crikey that it did not have anything to do with any legal letter sent to The Betoota Advocate and there was no such legal action being taken against the site.

AdNews news editor Arvind Hickman told Crikey the publication of the story was a mistake, and should not have gone up before comment was received from Cricket Australia. He said the story was taken down as soon as Cricket Australia advised it was not factual.

“It was an innocent mistake — sometimes these things happen and we always correct the record,” he said.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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