Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Newspapers Hate Attribution - Reason New York Times Got Into Trouble...

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 15, 2010

The New York Times published this on its 'Corrections' section:

...a Times reporter appears to have improperly appropriated wording and passages published by other news organizations.

The reporter, Zachery Kouwe, reused language from The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and other sources without attribution or acknowledgment.

The Times was alerted to the problem by editors at The Wall Street Journal. They pointed out extensive similarities between a Journal article, first published on The Journal's Web site...

As John Furrier from Silicon Angle pointed out in a Tweet, bloggers reuse language in news stories all the time. They don't get into trouble because they attribute and they link back to the original.

I've worked on newspapers and I can tell you: newspapers hate to attribute anything to anybody. We would rewrite Reuters news stories even when we had the right to republish the entire news story. Why? Because newspapers want it look like their reporters originate the news -- not other news organizations.

When I became a journalist/blogger more than five years ago, I loved the fact that I could quote directly from many news sources and then add my contribution to the story.

But the New York Times newsroom culture is slow to change. This embarrassment wouldn't have been an embarrassment if its reporters were allowed to do the decent thing and attribute and link back.

In today's online newsroom, you have to attribute and link because there isn't enough time to try to 'stand-up' a story that someone else has broken, using your own contacts. That might have been possible when your next deadline was hours away, but that doesn't work today.

UPDATE: Marketing Pilgrim reports: 89% of Journalists Source Stories From Social Media, Yet Only 15% Admit Its Importance



A new survey by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, suggests that 89% of journalists source their stories from blogs, 65% from social networks such as Facebook, and 52% from Twitter.

That's no surprise.

Yet despite this admission, journalists continue to downplay the importance of social media to their reporting efforts, with just 15% citing it as "important."


This also means that they won't attribute and link back!

- - -

Please see:

5yrs: Lessons From A Blogger/Journalist - The Start of A Series

5yrs: Where's The Disruption From The Internet?

5yrs: Meeting Cisco's Dan Scheinman and Realizing Every Company Is Now A Media Company

5yrs: Wish Everyone Well . . .

5yrs: Where Have All The Blogs Gone?

5yrs: Building A Better Mousetrap




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