Anorak News | Small World: Mail And Sun Journalists Rehash Agency Copy With Errors Intact

Small World: Mail And Sun Journalists Rehash Agency Copy With Errors Intact

by | 14th, September 2010

THAT story about the Kent mother who “played the Small World game almost non-stop on the internet for months” and neglected her three children was packed full of facts.

The 33-year-old’s children were neglected and two dogs died. In court, she is banned from using computers. She was invited to join “Small World” by a Facebook pal.

Only, Small World isn’t an Internet game. So how did Small World make it into the Mail and the Sun? Maybe it was a copy and paste job with the facts unchecked and Google used to pull a few images out of any old game – images of the Warhammer game were used? In the rush to get a out a story linking child neglect and Facebook – it could be you! – the Mail and Sun cut corners.

Kieron Gillen investigates. He contacted Roger Pearson who wrote the apparent origin-story up for Mercury Press Agency:

I’ve already been contacted by the Daily Mail on this – indeed I did a check with the reporter who supplied the story yesterday afternoon after a query from The Sun. The best I can tell you is that the judge and lawyers all referred in court to a game called Small World – not Worlds. Whether they were wrong in the way they were referring to it we cant say. Going on your comments it sounds as if they may have been. The reporter could only go on what was said in court though. That is of
course privileged, and if he had changed it to another name he would have been laying himself open to trouble if he changed it wrongly. He’s not a computer games player so he wouldn’t be up on the finer computer game points you’ve mentioned.
Afraid that’s the best I can tell you. In other words, if an apparent error in court filters down and everyone takes it on face-value, with the newspapers who buy the core story seeming to lack the knowledge – or failed in their research – to realise that it must be a mistake. Of course, this doesn’t explain the Warhammer image, so we’ll keep you up to date on that.

Mail hackette Jaya Narain, tells her readers:

According to the makers, Days of Wonder, players ‘vie for conquest and control of a world that is simply too small to accommodate them all’.

Only Days of Wonder don’t make the game the guilty woman played. They issue a press release:

Newspaper editors across the Atlantic seem to be living in a fantasy world – perhaps to the point where they will write anything.

Contrary to incorrect reports published in several English newspapers and their respective websites, Days of Wonder’s Small World board game is not connected to the tragedy that occurred in the London suburb of Swanley, where a mother reportedly let her children starve and the family dogs die while she played in an online virtual world whose name might be similar to, but is totally unrelated to the family-friendly Days of Wonder board game.

Apparently journalists and editors of some British newspapers can’t be bothered to check facts and distinguish between “” and the family board game “Small World”, created and marketed by Days of Wonder.

US lawyers might not be any better.

Says Eric Hautemont, CEO of Days of Wonder:

“One wonders if reporters check their sources! The information published on the websites of the Daily Mail and the Sun has spread like wildfire on the Web. The copyrighted images attempting to incriminate our Small World game have circulated from England to Australia and no one bothered to check if this was indeed the right game in question.”

Contrary to the misinformation relayed on the web, the board game Small World cannot be played online and there is no invitation to play it on Facebook…

Days of Wonder is currently considering legal action regarding this misrepresentation of the Small World board game and hopes the newspapers responsible for these defamatory statements will give similar coverage to a retraction.

At the time of writing the “Small World” game still features on the Mail’s website…

Spotter: MacGuffin

Posted: 14th, September 2010 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink