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WLNE Takes ‘Appropriate Internal Action’ After Publishing Story With Factual Errors, Improper Attribution

Providence ABC affiliate WLNE has retracted a story about health violations at local restaurants after the station “mistakenly misconstrued some of the facts” and failed to give a local website credit for its reporting, WLNE general manager Chris Tzianabos tells TVSpy.

GoLocalProv.com reported Friday on restaurants in the Providence area with the highest number of health violations. The piece reported on citations at restaurants across the region and included a slideshow of the top 25 restaurants with the highest number of violations.

In WLNE’s story on the health violations, which included no attribution to GoLocalProv, the station reported “25 of the city’s restaurants have health violations.” For the original article, GoLocalProv inspected data from the past three years and found the number of restaurants with violations was more than twice that. WLNE also reported that a restaurant called Il Fornello had 7 violations, which was the fewest in the region. GoLocalProv said “there were numerous restaurants in the city that had less than 7 violations.”

“GoLocalProv invested time, energy and money to develop a public interest investigative story that reported on the health violations in Providence restaurants. We were extremely careful with reporting the data. ABC6 plagiarized the story,” Josh Fenton, CEO and co-founder of GoLocalProv.com’s parent company, said in a statement. “Even worse, in their haste to rewrite the story, it contained statements that are incorrect.”

The story has been removed from the WLNE website.

“ABC6 posted a story on abc6.com late Friday evening on a Department of Health report on health violations of local restaurants which inappropriately included facts from a GoLocalProv.com article. In addition to failing to give GoLocalProv.com proper credit, ABC6 mistakenly misconstrued some of the facts. We regret our mistake and we have taken appropriate internal action,” Tzianabos told TVSpy.

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