Writer of Retracted ‘Technology Review’ Pieces Faces Review at Other Pubs

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(AP) A freelance journalist who authored two online news articles that MIT’s Technology Review magazine retracted over questions of veracity is also facing review of stories she wrote for other publications.

The journalist, Michelle Delio, is a 37-year-old New York City freelance writer specializing in technology.

Delio said Friday that Technology Review’s online version was correct in retracting the two stories because they were based on an anonymous source who misrepresented himself to her.

But she defended the rest of the work she has written over her 15-year career as truthful.

WiredNews.com, for whom Delio has long been a contributor, published a note to readers citing this month’s retractions by TechnologyReview.com and saying it had assigned a journalism professor to review articles written by Delio.

The online publication has not, however, removed any of the hundreds of stories Delio has written for it, said Wired News’ managing editor Marty Cortinas.

Adam Penenberg, a New York University professor who also writes a media column for Wired News, was to do the review.

Paul Calento, a spokesman for InfoWorld, said that publication’s editorial staff also was reviewing Delio’s work. “We currently stand by Ms. Delio’s work with InfoWorld,” he said.

Delio told The Associated Press she was confident reviews would not turn up further evidence of problems with her other stories.

The retracted Technology Review articles concerned last month’s dismissal of Carly Fiorina as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co.

“I got scammed by a source who told me he worked for Hewlett-Packard,” Delios said in a telephone interview. “He misrepresented himself to me, and I have no idea why he did it.”

“I should have checked it out further. … I feel absolutely horrible about this. I feel horrible I gave out information that turned out to be false,” she said.

Technology Review’s editor-in-chief, Jason Pontin, on March 7 retracted articles by Delio that had been posted in February and on March 4, saying the publication could not verify the anonymous source cited in both stories.

Pontin began reviewing the stories — which did not appear in the magazine’s print version — after HP officials complained that they were unable to verify the existence of an employee fitting the description of the one that Delio quoted anonymously.

The stories were both critical of Fiorina.

In the first one, the anonymous source was identified as an HP engineer. In the second, he was described as a Hungarian immigrant with the initials G.S., and as “an electrical engineer who worked as a research scientist at the Hewlett-Packard Imaging Systems Laboratory starting in 1975 until he resigned in 2003.”

Pontin, whose magazine is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he had repeatedly asked Delio to provide more information about the source but that she was unable.

“We regret having published the stories,” Pontin said Friday. “They never could have been published in the print magazine,” which he said has more rigorous fact-checking standards than the online publication.

“But the hard truth of online publishing is that we trust to the accuracy and honesty of reporters,” Pontin said.

Delio said she had met the source that was the basis for her Hewlett-Packard stories several years ago at a technology conference and had come to believe what he told her about his background and knowledge of HP.

“I know I should have checked it out further — my name was on the piece,” she said.

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