Saturday, June 23, 2012

The MRT Train Door Open Incident: Did Stomp knowingly post a fake story to get more hits?

Surprise, surprise! The Stomper who posted the story of the MRT train doors that remained open when the train was moving is actually a Stomp employee! Samantha Ann Francis is a Stomp Content Producer and here's another surprise. SMRT has revealed that Samantha wasn't even at Lakeside MRT station!

So who's lying? We can't tell for sure but we can take a look at Samantha's statements if she's telling truth. In her original Stomp post (under the name wasabi), she writes: "I was on my way home from Boon Lay MRT to City Hall MRT last night. At Lakeside station at 10.15pm, one of the doors started making noises during 'Doors Closing' and remained stuck open even while the train started moving. Thank goodness the train was relatively empty, if not it would have been dangerous for people standing near that door in a crowded train! The doors eventually closed at the next station."

Samantha's story (that's her in the above Straits Times photo) on Stomp is different from the statements she gave to SMRT: "She met with SMRT staff at Lakeside MRT to assist in their investigations. She showed them where she was standing when she took the photo and described what she was wearing that night to help SMRT identify her in CCTV footage."

As you can tell by comparing the two stories above, Samantha lied in the Stomp posting saying that she took the train from Boon Lay MRT. She later told SMRT she was standing on the platform of Lakeside MRT station when she took the photo. Even that is a lie because SMRT's CCTV images and a check on her ez-link card show that she was never at Lakeside MRT station in the first place.

Now why would a Stomp employee lie about the authenticity of her story and photo? Is it to get more hits? Does the Stomp editor know that the story was posted by their own content producer and not by a citizen journalist? Why didn't Stomp reveal in the original post that it was submitted by their own content producer? And what about the photo of the MRT doors that remain open? Was it photoshopped? If Samantha did lie about the story, how did she get the photo?

UPDATE: Stomp content producer Samantha Francis has been sacked by SPH! Stomp has sent an apology to SMRT for the fake story.

UPDATE: Stomp has removed Samantha's original post but you can still view it below.

UPDATE: Sacked Stomp Content Producer Samantha Ann Francis has removed/hid her LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media profiles but apparently, you can still read her articles which she wrote for Fever Avenue here. (Thanks Rickie, HoLim and Michhh06)

UPDATE: According to the cache image of Samantha's LinkedIn below, she was an intern journalist at SPH from May to Sept 2011. She then went on to contribute to Fever Avenue as an Entertainment writer and joined SPH full time as a Content Producer for Stomp (not updated on her LinkedIn). (Thanks Mr Big, Mas)

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