Brazil is giggling at just about every major English language news outlet that reported on West Brom's hiring of Spaniard Pepe Mel as the club's new manager. Everyone from The Times and the Guardian to Sky Sports and the Independent all mentioned a curious one-year spell with Brazilian club Corinthians in 2004 in their descriptions of Mel's career, which is largely unknown in the English speaking world. The only problem with that is he never managed any club outside of Spain until now, let alone Corinthians in 2004.
So where did this nugget of wrong information originate and how could it have been picked up by so many top outlets? Wikipedia.
Someone added Corinthians to Mel's managerial experience on his Wikipedia page (it has since been removed) and since everyone apparently went directly to Wikipedia when Mel was hired by West Brom, it was published over and over again.
La prensa inglesa usa Wikipedia para conocer a Mel y un vándalo había editado que dirigió al ¡CORINTHIANS! Resultado: pic.twitter.com/q7Pj4zlOpy
— Samuel (@ecanalla) January 10, 2014
Journalists Rupert Fryer and Guillem Balague spotted the rampant error, but by the time they did, it was too late for their offending cohorts.
So, it seems nobody knew who Pepe Mel was so every major outlet went to wiki, where someone had laid the Corinthians trap. — Rupert Fryer (@Rupert_Fryer) January 10, 2014
Pepe Mel has never coached Corinthians. Not sure who came out with that. In few minutes my profile of Pepe Mel for @br_uk
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 10, 2014
Of course, it's impossible for journalists, reporters and (ahem) bloggers, to know every detail about every player, manager and club around the world. Wikipedia is normally a wonderful resource, but this will hopefully serve as a reminder that it should never be the only one. Not even for seemingly mundane tidbits like this.
In case you were wondering, Corinthians' managers in 2004 were Oswaldo de Oliveria and Tite. At least, that's what Wikipedia says.
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