Schoolboy revealing Titanic hoax photos nominated for Bonnier Journalistic Award
Sami Sillanpää’s report on Chinese activist candidate for Story of the Year category
A 13-year-old Finnish schoolboy from Kemi named Waltteri Seretin noticed last August that the images presented by the Reuters news agency, purporting to show the Finnish-built MIR-1 and MIR-2 submersibles during a recent Russian scientific expedition to the seabed below the North Pole, were actually borrowed from James Cameron's movie Titanic (1997).
In its piece on the subject, two of the four Reuters pictures were from the Titanic filming.
The images were picked up by numerous media outlets around the world, Helsingin Sanomat among them, and were inserted into news stories as evidence of the successful expedition.
Nobody raised any eyebrows until Waltteri Seretin made the connection and contacted the late-edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. The newspaper ran the story in its following edition.
Reuters later apologised for the error and made the appropriate changes to its video material on the expedition, with captions denoting the various origins of the file footage used.
On Wednesday, the Titanic series of articles by Waltteri Seretin and the Ilta-Sanomat reporters Saku Pekka Sundelin, Jari Alenius, and Arja Paananen was nominated for the Bonnier Journalistic Award.
Among the contestants in the ”Story of the Year” category is also the Helsingin Sanomat China correspondent Sami Sillanpää, with his story "The Year of the Dog - A Chinese activist’s story", published in the March 2007 edition of the paper's monthly colour supplement Kuukausiliite, and also published her in English in May 2007.
The lengthy article tells of the 32-year-old Chinese dissident Hu Jia, whose life Sillanpää followed for 12 months, occasionally putting his own safety at risk.
The Bonnier prize comprises three different series, and the three candidates nominated for the prize for innovations in journalism include the weekly newspaper Aamulehti, the monthly magazine of the rural paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, and Bonnier’s own women’s magazine Olivia.
The winners will be announced on a direct television broadcast by MTV3, set for Wednesday, March 12th.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Ilta-Sanomat reveals embarrassing error in Reuters feed on Russian North Pole sub expedition (10.8.2007)
The Year of the Dog - A Chinese activist´s story (22.5.2007)
Reuters video (now corrected and with captions)
The Bonnier Group: Journalist Prizes awarded in several countries