Responsibility of the press when reporting software-based incidents

When the Ariane-5 rocket was destroyed, the news made headlines in France and elsewhere. Liberation, a French newspaper, called it “A 37-billion-franc fireworks display” on the front page. In fact, the explosion was front-page news in almost all European newspapers and headed the main evening news bulletins on most European TV networks. By contrast, the invasion by a hacker of Panix, a New York-based Internet provider, forced the Panix system to close down for several hours. News of this event appeared only on the front page of the business section of the Washington Post.

What is the responsibility of the press when reporting software-based incidents?

How should the potential impact of software failures be assessed and reported?


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