York’s ‘snowstorm’: Daily Mail makes a white blunder

5 Feb 2013 @ 5.07 pm
| Opinion
Bizarre weather. We had a Mail storm today… Extract from the photograph used on the Mail Online website

How are you coping in today’s snow, York? You know, the thundersnow which rendered the city a frozen nightmare?

Stonegate was particularly horrific, with people battling against the blizzard and York Minster “barely visible” in the snow.

Or so the Daily Mail had it.

This was their picture of York on today’s online version of the paper, as updated at 3.31pm on Tuesday, February 5…


And here’s a picture of Stonegate we took at about 4pm that very afternoon…


Quite a difference. For one thing, the Christmas decorations have gone. But then, we are nearly a week into February.

For another, as any resident knows, York only had the lightest sprinkling of snow overnight, all of which had gone by mid morning.

The Mail didn’t update its story even after local readers had pointed to the error. One wrote: “Think someone is scaremongering. A beautiful picture of Stonegate in York is above, but anyone who was in York today will know that we only had a very light sprinkle of snow that did NOT settle and Stonegate did NOT look like this at all! Think you need to date your pics before you start putting them on here DM.”

Sir Peter added: “That photo was NOT taken in York today. Trust me.” And as early as 3.22pm Lisa said: “Well that picture of Stonegate wasn’t taken today. No snow in York.”

There are two things to learn from this. One, don’t believe all you see on the Mail website, even if it is the most read online newspaper in the world. Who knows how many of the other pictures on that story are completely out of date?

And secondly, world at large: don’t judge the British weather by the crazy tabloid coverage. As Drew, a bemused US visitor to the Mail story, commented: “Don’t you guys ever get sunshine?”

Yes Drew. Only today in fact. But you wouldn’t know it from this coverage. Visit York must wonder how many foreign tourists are put off from travelling here by stories like these…


**Update, 9.55pm, February 5**

Our thanks to York journalist and writer Jerry Ibbotson, who tracked down the image to stock photo site Alamy. It was taken by the excellent York photographers Bailey Cooper and it dates from… December 1, 2010! So it looks like the London-based Daily Mail decided that we were snow-bound in York, based on no evidence, then went searching for a stock photo to fit this unfounded theory – you can see it here. It does make you wonder how often they do this sort of thing.