NZ Herald reviews procedures after photo of comedian used with dead soldier tribute

NZ Herald front page ryan dunn soldierThe New Zealand Herald has launched an internal review of its editorial processes after a tribute story about an NZ-born Israeli soldier who died in Gaza was accompanied by a photograph of late comedian Ryan Dunn.

The newspaper used two photos of the Jackass star in the mistaken belief it was Guy Boyland, who died last Friday.

Staff sourced the image from Boyland’s Facebook page, with the incorrect photo of Dunn appearing in both today’s print edition and online. It raises immediate questions over what checks are made when sourcing material from Facebook and other social media sites.

When the blunder became apparent, the story was republished online, together with a brief apology, before a full stand-alone apology from editor Shayne Currie was published later in the morning under the headline: ‘Photo error, apology to Boyland family’.

NZHapologyCurrie said in the apology that he takes responsibility for an “error that should never have occurred”.

“We are currently looking into what checks were made regarding the two images with a view to ensuring procedures are reviewed to ensure that there is no repeat of this error in the future,” he said. “Guy Boyland was a fan of comedian Ryan Dunn and had posted the photo we used on his Facebook page when the comedian died in 2011. The New Zealand Herald incorrectly sourced the image of Ryan Dunn from Guy’s page, along with several other images, believing them to be of Guy.

“I would like to reiterate how seriously we are taking this error and apologise again. I would also like to apologise to our readers – the public trust us to get it right, and we must make sure this does not happen again.”

Curie added that both he and APN chief executive Jane Hastings have spoken to Boyland’s family and apologised and that they have been “remarkably forgiving”.

“I have apologised for adding to their grief and I will keep them fully updated on how this happened as obviously it is unacceptable”, he said.

Steve Jones


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