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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  1. icon
    Tgeigs (profile), 29 May 2009 @ 2:45pm

    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...

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