Poynter has released the 2014 edition of The year in media errors and corrections 2014.  This year’s list included 4 gems from the New York Times that could have been avoided by spending about 10 seconds using common online resources.

NYT quotes The Daily Current

Mr. West’s quotes were taken, without attribution, from the satirical website The Daily Currant. There is no radio station WGYN in Chicago; the interview was fictitious, and should not have been included in the column.

How to avoid:  Spend any time on Facebook at all.  As soon as someone posts from The Daily Currant, you’ll see about 20 replies  of “Parody site!” It’s considered as bad as taking an Onion article seriously.  And, really, does anyone think there’s a radio station called “WGYN”?  (Wait – I spent 10 seconds on Google and apparently there was once such a station – in New York.)

A new fast food chain!

An article on Thursday about the latest Internet sensation of “Alex from Target,” a picture of a teenager bagging merchandise at the retailer that went viral online, described incorrectly a subsequent Internet posting of “Kel from Good Burger.” It was a frame from the 1997 film “Good Burger” starring the actor Kel Mitchell; it was not a photograph of a teenager in a job.

How to avoid: Google “Kel from Good Burger”. (Bonus skill: use Google Image Search).

Eagles, what do they eat?

An earlier version of this article described bald eagles and ospreys incorrectly. They eat fish, and their poop is white; they do not eat berries and excrete purple feces. (Other birds, like American robins, Eurasian starlings and cedar waxwings, do.)

How to avoid: Wikipedia is your friend (at least for what they eat; the poop will require a Google search).  Good to know about the other birds, though.  A very educational correction.

No, we’ve never seen Star Wars

An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of a creature in the “Star Wars” universe. It is a wookiee, not a wookie.

Again, Google.  Bonus resource: Wookieepedia

To be sure, some of these are pretty picky – a missing “e” is an easy mistake to make.  But a “Newspaper of Record” should never be quoting parody sites, ever, particularly the standard ones – National Report, Daily Current, and The Onion.  And no newspapers (New York Daily News, we’re looking at you) should be quoting Twitter accounts clearly labeled as parodies.  “Checking sources” is skill number one!

As for the rest of the article, be sure to not miss the Great Goat War, the real religious litmus test, and the “sorry not sorry” correction.  Bonus: nope, that NYT teenager didn’t just millions in the stock market – a great example of that age-old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s not.  Skill number 2?  Learn to use a calculator (bonus: Google has a built-in one if you need to calculate stuff in a hurry).