Newspaper Journalists Claiming TV Reporters Are 'Plagiarizing' The News

from the sense-of-entitlement dept

Ima Fish writes " Seattlepi.com has a posting on its blog section from “the News Chick” about how broadcast news “plagiarizes” print news. Here’s the gist of the complaint:

“Print journalists consider it plagiarism. Broadcasters call it a “rewrite.”

Here’s how it works in nearly every news market in the country. Print reporters do research and interviews for a story that ends up being about 800 words or so. Broadcasters rewrite and condense the paper’s story to around 50 words – sometimes adding their own audio or video – then present it as their own.”

Condensing 800 words down to 50 words is not plagiarism, if the word “plagiarism” is to have any real meaning, of course.

The person complaining the most is Seattle’s Tri-City Herald editor Ken Robertson. He’s careful not to use words such as “stolen” and only goes as far as to say his stories were “lifted.” Which makes sense because even he knows he has absolutely no copyright claim on the news itself. But if he knows that, exactly what is he complaining about? That he didn’t get his pat on the back when an important news story got wider coverage?!

And I’m reminded of the recent postings involving Aretha Franklin and the producers of Britain’s Got Talent. Franklin, the producers, and any newspaper writer got exactly what she or he bargained for. Franklin looked fashionable. The producers got paid for producing their show. And a newspaper writer got paid for writing stories. Why should they be given any credit beyond that? Franklin didn’t make the hat fashionable. The producers did not make Boyle an incredible singer. And newspaper writers do not create news, they report on news. The sense of entitlement on such issues is quite bizarre."

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Comments on “Newspaper Journalists Claiming TV Reporters Are 'Plagiarizing' The News”

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18 Comments
WisconsinGod says:

Re: 5 Words Needed...

Hear hear… I second that thought.

Simply give credit to the source in the news broadcast… plain and simple. There are benefits two-fold
1) Credit is given to the paper news reporter, thus providing credit for the person doing the real work.
2) Cover your behind from lawsuits due to shotty research. If you say “according to X”, and X is a reputable source, then if X is actually wrong, you have no liability for what you had stated.

Tgeigs (profile) says:

Re: Re: 5 Words Needed...

I mean, okay, but…

“1) Credit is given to the paper news reporter, thus providing credit for the person doing the real work.”

Example – serial killer A is caught by policeman X, who was interviewed by reporter B for a story researched and framed by producer Y, who had possible stories pre-filtered by assitants Q, R, and S, most of whom worked for news company Z, but the selling point of the story was the photograph of the dead body taken by freelance photographer C. I would argue that EVERYONE of the lettered entities above are the originator’s and/or inspiration behind the “story”, none moreso perhaps than serial killer A. Who gets credited? Where does it stop? Just the name of the paper? Because why shouldn’t it be the rest? And what about the freelance photographer whose image ACTUALLY made the story popular, why doesn’t he get a share of the credit?

“2) Cover your behind from lawsuits due to shotty research. If you say “according to X”, and X is a reputable source, then if X is actually wrong, you have no liability for what you had stated.”

Great, except that this would give news groups full license to repeat absolutely retarded “journalism” from really, really bad sources without liability. Of particular note is many hate group publications and tabloids and the like have EXTREMELY innocuous names. Take the Nat’l Star — As originally reported by The Nat’l Star (and photographer C, etc. etc.), Oprah ate Steadman and than shat him into a bowl of fruit loops and at it. Here’s an artists rendition of what that would’ve looked like…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: 5 Words Needed...

Right Tgeigs, Now, You’re one of the newer people here, and maybe you don’t understand multiple things. So, did you get a mac yet?

On that note…

Recently, I needed a document template, and ran into a little trouble. You see, the Office Online Group headed by xx, someone I worked for, and they had this wonderful “Office Template” website and I found a Powerpoint Template for an older version of Office. The template was a 2003 version I think. (I run Office 2008, so compatibility isn’t an issue.)

Anyways, I got an error message that said something to the likes of “Hey Asshole, Upgrade your Operating System and Browser: Windows ME and Windows 95 isn’t supported”

Heh. I thought. You see, I did upgrade to a new operating system, by buying a mac last month, I couldn’t be happier. Eventually, I found the link on the same page and ended up downloading the “.CAB” file. Thankfully OSX came with a program that could uncompress the file.

Nonetheless, the “Hey Asshole, Upgrade your Operating System and Browser: Windows ME and Windows 95 isn’t supported” message was slightly annoying, and the big Exclamation mark graphics seemed a little over the top.

Have you seen the PC Choice Chat ads?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 5 Words Needed...

True, and, there may be some truth to that. However, in recent years, even the AP has relaxed it’s reporting standards. If you happen to have a 1998 version of the AP Style Guide, you’ll find that it differs significantly from even the 2007 version.

Both are incredibly different. So it seems the best thing to do is to stick with acceptable standards, and in this case, de-facto may very well be okay as long as it’s adhered to by others.

HOWEVER, I remain worried about the AP Styleguide changing again in 2009. The definition of sourcing (as implemented) seems to present a quantifiable and dangerous issue.

Now, I have’t seen the 2008 or 2009 version, but I wish you well in better understanding the current “acceptable practices” of journalists and what actually qualifies as Journalism in this blog-filled world.

Anthony (profile) says:

It's Only A Matter Of Time

This used to happen all the time in Australia, but in the mid-90s all 3 TV networks reported that a very-high profile personality raped a woman and paid her off to not report it. When all 3 TV networks were sued by this particular personality they claimed that they got the story from the paper. So now they always mention that the paper(or another station) was the source of the story when they present stories that they did no research on themselves.

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