License article

Newspaper takes the blame for Logie leak

THE Herald Sun has apologised to viewers and absolved Google of any responsibility after admitting to naming Hamish Blake as the Gold Logie winner two hours before the rest of Australia knew.

After a day in which it refused to admit it had got it wrong and shifted the blame on Google, last night the Melbourne tabloid finally caved in. ''We apologise and hope it did not ruin viewers' overall Logies experience. The error was certainly accidental in that there was no deliberate intention to break the strict Logies embargo,'' it read.

On Sunday night, a story naming Blake that was secreted away on its website ready to publish after the embargo was lifted became ''searchable'' on Google, the Herald Sun said.

But it was too late: the furore of breaking the embargo led to the seven-man team from the Herald Sun being ejected from the ceremony.

Yesterday, the newspaper received a pillorying online as it spent the day refusing to admit to its error and blaming ''all powerful Google'' for publishing the article. Google quickly hit back with a statement that all but laughed at the preposterous claim.

“While we strive to provide the freshest, most relevant search results on the Logies and more, Google can only index material already published on the web,’’ it said during the day.


Only later in the day was the newspaper more contrite, saying: ‘‘Google is in no way responsible for what happened. We did not intend to imply any error on Google’s behalf.’’ Last night Google said it had nothing to add.

An expert on the media and the internet Stilgherrian said the Herald Sun was always to blame and to suggest otherwise was wrong.

He said the newspaper could have done more to protect itself by flicking the switch on the ‘‘robot exclusion standard’’ which instructs Google’s bots to not pick up a report and index it in its search results.

‘‘This story was clearly up and visible to the robots when the Herald Sun assumed it wasn’t. If it is there on the web Google will find it unless it has been told not to,’’ he said.