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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:-  23 January 2015

Google uses image from our site inappropriately!

WE are surprised to have been told by our friends at the rival newspaper, the Champion this week that an images from an edition in 2003 had been used by Google. This paper had just run a story this week about the inappropriate use of an image on Google Search. On investigation after they made a passing comment about it, they found that Google had lifted it from our site! Due to building work at our office, the Champion had found it hard to contact us but eventually managed to contact us. Our Editor was shocked and highly upset to hear about it. “According to many in the industry, we are the first accredited online only newspaper in the UK, so our archive dates back far more than most. This means we are often used for research, especially about local history; also, we use Google as one of our search tools, on our archive page. Sadly, in this case, we have been blindsided by how Google has indexed us. One of our staff passed over a note that the Champion has been trying to contact us on Friday after discovering an image they had found on Google Search, when you typed in Southport had been hosted in one of our archived editions. After typing in “Southport” into Google I was shocked to see that Google, out of all the images we have taken over the years, picked the one image that was most inappropriate image for its portrayal of “Southport”! This image was of a forensic search taking place on Southport Sand Dunes. As many of you know, we very, very rarely cover any items of this nature in photo form. So we dug further and found it was from a 2003 edition! How unfortunate Google should have chosen so incredibly badly? The image thankfully showed nothing of a personal nature , nevertheless the fact that it was of this search taking place was quite shocking and when the Champion found out and tweeted it, it upset the family of the victim that such an image would be used by Google! We thank the Champion for alerting us to this, and we have conducted our own research. The image was not saved with any META data saying Southport, nor was it saved as “Southport” or any related wording. It did have a watermark on from the image supplier that contained the word “Southport” though. But lots of our images, including our headers contain watermarking and even META tags, so why this was chosen, we have no idea! On discovery we changed the image and removed the old one. We have also removed the page. But disturbingly, this has not totally eradicated it, as we have found out Google has cached it! We then contacted Google as we, like the family, want the image to be removed! Luckily as we are regulated and are a credited media outlet, we managed to get Google to reply. We hope that the family do not blame us for this error and also we express our deepest apologies for any upset. Sadly, I think this type of thing will happen more and more as the web gets bigger and more complex. The new HTML5 is only making matters worse, when it comes to indexing via sites like Google. But for us, it highlights a growing problem. How do we allow searching of our websites to take place and for the retention of historical archived news to be achieved, without issues like this happening? We know Google is a highly complex tool, and errors do take place, but for us, the most important thing is that it Google corrects this for the Family, as we never would have thought anything like this would have happened or could have happened! We would like to thank Google however, for the fast reply to this issue and hope they can sort it out just as quickly.”

A spokesperson for Google on Friday Evening, after both they and ourselves found out said:- “We are looking into this for you now and will fix it. We are very sorry it has happened. We will action this as quickly as possible; however the time of day may make this process slightly more difficult. We will be in touch soonest.” This was swiftly followed by an email of the same nature.

Over the last few months we have been looking at setting up a meet the media event, like a few we have run before and this issue has highlighted the fact, to us why we feel it is important for the public to talk to us!

Please note that we are not responsible for this and that the fact our Editor's Facebook Page is playing up is not connected in any way! We will keep you posted in the next issue on both problems. Once again our Paper would like to publicly thank the Champion for alerting us to this issue!

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Click on here to find out what this photograph is all about!      Photography by Jon Challicom  Posed by a mode l © 2014 NSPCC
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B.O.A. 70th Anniversary DVD

Click on to buy now...THE video footage we have taken at the 70th BOA events this year in Liverpool has now been fully edited is available to buy, on a DVD, from our Online Shop, on Mersey Reporter very soon.  For each DVD sold, £3.00 will go to the Liverpool's Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal. (Registered Charity No. 229539)  At this stage we can only do UK postage options, but if you are outside the UK, you can still order copies, but only via emailing our newsroom at:- with your FULL address and we will get back to you with a postage cost and a payment link, should you wish to continue.



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