journalism is all about the eyeballs. the more eyeballs, the better. a story about the subway store’s tuna raises eyebrows. was it a fish tale with no smoking carp?
subway has been accused of selling bogus tuna. pehaps, the nytimes should be accused of selling a bogus story.
fraudulent food is a real concern and newsworthy item. counterfeit fish products are well known within the food industry. grocery stores and restaurants have been found to mislabel fish products at a staggering rate. a study found that 1 in 5 fish tested in a study were mislabeled on packaging or restaurant menus. marketwatch
the nytimes article “the big tuna sandwich mystery” is a head scratching article. is the article a journalism don quixote moment? a windmill formed of foot longs? if the writer began their story at was written at the bottom of the article, perhaps no article would have been written. arguably, this is a non-story with the subway store and its employees as the victims.
first, the story revolves around dna testing for the tuna contained within the sandwiches. a journalist, concerned with accuracy, should have inquired as to how scientifically this claim could be assessed. dna sampling of the subway tuna is a mere starting point to the inquiry. other controlled dna sampling could have helped prove the point. thus, a competitor’s tuna, a can of tuna, and raw tuna similar to subway’s could have been tested as well in fairness to subway.
as the article goes on, even the allegations change. it is reported in the article. the lawsuit which alleged the sale of the bogus tuna, which was the impetus, changed their story, it is reported that “even the plaintiffs have softened their original claims. In a new filing from june, their complaints centered not on whether subway’s tuna was tuna at all, but whether it was “100% sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna.” thus, even the basis for the story is not holding water. it would appear that now there is no allegation that the tuna isn’t tuna. it is simply that it is not a specific type of tuna.
the writer discusses her methodology for getting a sample. thus, we have the drama of her buying and shipping, the sandwiches from los angeles to new york to get it tested.
the writer’s laboratory results were unremarkable. it is reported conclusions were: ” “one, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification. or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna.” (subway declined to comment on the lab results.) ” thus, the laboratory results provide no definitive result.
the article event notes that to ” be fair, when inside edition sent samples from three subway locations in queens out for testing earlier this year, the lab found that the specimens were, indeed, tuna. ” thus, another journalistic enterprise did a better job at getting a conclusive result than the nytimes.
in sum, we have a news article premised on the allegation that subway is lying to its customers. further, we have a news article which is horribly flawed methodology to answer the question. further, we have an article in which the data is inconclusive to prove or disprove the assertion. thus, subway is smeared merely for providing eyeballs to a publisher. the article’s only story is that the plaintiffs, who are suing subway, have claims that are not are strong as was initially pled.
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