Why the NY Times Axact Story stands on flimsy grounds
I am behind on the latest news. Just today read the New York Times story on the Pakistani software company Axact. The story, by Declan Walsh, Griffin Palmer and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, is so big that another piece, by Griffin Palmer, provides the background information to the lead story. Here is the gist of Walsh’s piece: Axact runs a plethora of online schools and colleges that give bogus diplomas to students who earn these certificates not by studying but by paying huge amounts of money to these online educational institutions. The online universities run by Axact include the Newford University, the Barkley University, the Columbiana University, etc.
Decided to do my own research.
Started with the online Newford University. Found it here:
Called the toll free number (1-844-733-9355) listed on the web site--no one answered. Tried to do online chat--that did not work either. Downloaded an image from their web site and searched the origin on Google; it turned out to be a stock photo. Listened to the video interview of the faculty of the Newford University, referenced in the NY Times article. The woman introduces herself as Danny Krane. Searched "Danny Krane" on Google. The ‘Head of Law’ was nowhere to be found.
Searched the registrant of newforduniversity.com web site. Found out that the domain was registered from Bahamas; the street address info has the note ‘Contact the owner by email only.’
So, yes, the Newford University appears to be fake.
But that is only part of the story. New York Times claims the Newford University is run by Axact. Where is the proof? NY Times claims ex-employees of Axact say so. That’s it? Someone says something and all of us are supposed to believe it? Come on NY Times. We expect better journalism. Give us something more tangible. Even proving that the Newford University web site is hosted on Axact’s servers (if that is indeed the case) will not prove Axact-Newford University connivance.
To prove that Axact is the entity behind the Newford University, New York Times needs to establish the money connection. Show that the fee paid at the Newford University web site, ultimately ends up in Axact’s bank account. Outside of that solid proof the New York Times story can best be described as a very well written piece of yellow journalism.
Photo, courtesy of InDepthPakistan.com