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Students' 'runestone' ad fools Swedish papers

TT/The Local/gs · 2 Apr 2011, 14:45

Published: 02 Apr 2011 14:45 GMT+02:00

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A number of media outlets decided to cover the story of the runestone. Newspaper Värmlands Folkblad even asked a runestone expert to take a closer look at the photo, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).

However, he was unable to confirm its authenticity.

Found throughout Scandinavia, as well as in other locations frequented by Nordic Vikings, runestones typically feature a runic inscriptions dating from between the 4th and 12th centuries.

They feature raised inscriptions etched into raised boulders or bedrock, and often served as memorials to the deceased.

The fact that so many media outlets ran with the story seems to have jaded some of the students' trust in media.

“I didn't think it would be so big,” student Marcus Andersson told SVT.

“I thought maybe it would be published in the Filipstad newspaper. It's funny and at the same time a little scary that so many wrote about it without checking up on it properly.”

The advertisement on Blocket.se, which seemed to have been written by an individual seller, was titled: “Piece of a Runestone in Filipstad.”

The description read, “A piece of a runestone is for sale. Have lost interest for it and don't have room for it. It has been in our family for a long time and I've inherited it from my grandmother.”

The entire class visited the editorial staffs of a number of media outlets on Friday April 1st to reveal that they had in fact made the fake runestone.

Story continues below…

The whole affair started as an assignment about ancient writing. Torbjörn Strömberg, the class' teacher, approved the project. They then went a step further by putting an announcement out on Blocket.se.

“You have to take everything you read with a grain of salt,” Andersson told SVT.

TT/The Local/gs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:34 April 2, 2011 by Swedesmith
Good lesson for the kids.
17:53 April 2, 2011 by byke
And this made a news story?
18:36 April 2, 2011 by darthur954
So what does the fake runestone say?
19:35 April 2, 2011 by Swedesmith
It says,"Made in China."
20:43 April 2, 2011 by laura ka baal
A tight on the slap on the face.

Made In China.

Like the "Volvo"
12:06 April 3, 2011 by krattan
Exemplary to use a real world example. Kudos to the teacher. This is stuff kids should learn.
21:41 April 3, 2011 by darthur954
@Swedesmith -- So true.
10:57 April 8, 2011 by Strongbow
No comments on the cocaine in the picture?
22:38 April 9, 2011 by Wireless.Phil
That is snow!

Anyway! The big rush for the story in hopes of selling more papers or counting page hits. Yep, not checking facts is a common problem that has crept into the media in the last few years.

Even my local US paper gets things wrong, reports a ship inbound when its actually outbound. I blame the citizen journalists! My paper didn't like that comment much and removed it and I've not been back since!
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