By ERWIN CHLANDA
Readers of Google Alerts for Alice Springs today may have been surprised and distressed by the headline “Alice Springs flood”, sending them to an online page of the Darwin-based Murdoch NT News.
Below the headline, they would have read “ALICE Springs has been inundated with floodwaters after heavy rainfall”.
Below that, a spread of photographs.
People are seen on the Stott Terrace bridge above the caption: “NTES Volunteers line the Stott Terrace bridge with torches searching for the body of a 24-year-old man who drowned. PHOTO: Barry Skipsey.”
The man is not named.
People clinging to a tree are seen being rescued from a car washed away.
And: “Power and Water staff have been kept busy” under an image of a dangerously crashed power pole.
And: “Mad Harrys staff cleanup after their ceiling collapsed during the night causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.”
Distressing stuff unless of course the reader is in dry Alice Springs, amazed at the newspaper’s apparent fabrication.
The 23 photos, mostly from Mr Skipsey, a well-known photographer in Alice Springs, were in fact archival ones and not current pix. This is not stated. He says they were published without his knowledge nor permission.
Mr Skipsey told the Alice Springs News: “These photos go back a long time. Mad Harry’s was around eight years ago, as rain from a super cell dumped on the town.”
The undated spread was picked up by a Google Alert service that emails news stories about topics or locations that users select, in this case Alice Springs, and is presumably available the world over.
At the top of the Google Alert is stated: alice springs. Daily update. 12 September 2022.
Clicking on it will take you to the NT News “report”.
We have offered the paper’s editor, Denise Cahill, the right of reply. At the time of our publication we have received no response.