Is it information if you make it up?

You may recall the big scandal over, first, allegations of a gang rape at UVA fraternity party, and, second, the fact that the story was fantasy, written by someone with “an agenda.”

“Jury: Rolling Stone Defamed UVA Official,” The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2016 A2.  A jury held that the article defamed a University administrator, who was portrayed as indifferent to a complaint that was never made.  This is bad news for a recent Singaporean investor in the paper.  Jury yet to determine damages.

What are today’s lessons?

  • One is that even something you make up is information.
  • Another is that delaying a retraction can be expensive.
  • A third is that an employer is liable for failing to take reasonable steps to make sure that its news “stories” are fact, not “stories.”
  • A fourth is that when you invest in a company, you invest in warts and all, even if they pre-date your investment.

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Filed under Accuracy, Controls, Corporation, Data quality, Definition, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Information, Internal controls, Oversight

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