by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
journalism, newspapers, parasites

More Examples Of Newspapers 'Parasiting' Blogs

from the and-again-and-again-and-again dept

I think this particular angle has been played out with a few previous examples, but I did want to post one final example of how common it appears for newspapers to copy stories from blogs without giving any credit at all. If Ian Shapira was upset that Gawker "only" gave him three links, I wonder what he feels about a long list of newspapers taking a story from a blog and giving no credit at all (found via Mathew Ingram). The story involves the news that the military is banning the use of certain social networks -- a story researched and broken on a blog by Noah Shachtman, but in newspaper after newspaper after newspaper after newspaper, no such credit is given. As the original link above points out, this is part of an outdated view of "journalism":
This isn't the fault of any individual reporter. It's the fault of an outdated newspaper convention that equates proper referencing with an admission of professional failure. Before the internet, it was pretty easy to get away with slighting your colleagues. But now that everyone has GoogleNews at their fingertips, it looks like exactly what it is: churlish and archaic vanity. Everyone can see who got the story first. Not a single reader, I'll bet, will ever say, "Aha! Because Noah Shachtman got the story first, clearly Julian Barnes is an inferior reporter!"
I don't even think it's that big of a deal. But it's just how stories spread. No one "owns" the news. Giving credit where credit is due is a nice and neighborly (online) thing to do (which is why we always try to credit where we found a story or who alerted us to it), but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty meaningless overall. It's pretty silly to suddenly be making a big deal of it -- and the only reason to do so appears to be some newspaper folks who can't figure out how to fix things, and instead are lashing out at anyone else who seems to be getting attention. First it was Craigslist. Then Google. Now blogs. But none of that actually solves the newspapers' problem of building business models for the twenty-first century.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 4:41am

    Then there's the "quality product" thing. Blogs are actually cooler in this regard, since I can read several versions and takes on the same issue if the issue interests me, where with news sites and news papers I get only the point of view of that particular reporter. I try to get all my news in blogs, even the ones I discover via traditional media, because the variety of angles interests me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 4:59am

    Here's the rub. While Noah Shachtman may have broken the story, these stories are not a duplication of a story. In the same manner that newspapers often write stories that first broke on CNN, or TV news might run with a story that first broke in USA Today, this is just normal and par for the course.

    You don't see media reporting who original broke each story, do you?

    After all, did Noah Shachtman get a copyright on the story?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    CleverName, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 5:00am

    Hot News

    "No one "owns" the news."

    But the MSM likes to claim such.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 5:30am


    The second he wrote it and published it (since this is the US we're talking about) there was copyright protection available. "Registration" is not necessary. Also, these newspaper stories took a great deal of information from this guy's blog rather than research it themselves. So failure to cite him as a source is improper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    I think it's not the point whether Noah owns the news or not. He doesn't (it's factual information) and I don't think he'll care if he did own it. The point is newspapers accusing blogs of "ripping them off" when it's just something that happens in the news scene, and that it's cool. And newspapers not having the balls to say "I took the tip from a blog".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 5:57am


    I can't say I have ever read (or remembered) a reporters name for an article in a newspaper. Most of the time I don't even look at who writes these techdirt blogs. I know I like the site, and I know I like certain papers over others. I could give two shits who wrote the article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    shawn, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Re: Reporters?

    That's a pretty verbose way of saying I'm not a writer.

    I pay my bills through writing...and i could give two shits if you knew my name but, my past, current, and future employers care what i've written. Or more simply put, It's of my portfolio.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 6:28am


    On some newspapers today most of the information not coming from payed agencies comes from websites and blogs. Journalists (should we call them crawlers) very rearely mention the source and what is worse they just copy/paste whatever thety found on the subject.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Ryan, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 8:18am

    Re: Reporters?

    You must be one of those people that believes everything he reads. Knowing where information is from is often as important as the information itself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    known coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Ryan has it right

    Credit is important, it defines the source of the story. If a murdoch paper talks about the NY times eating babies, it has much less believability if the story had run in the times.

    All stories should be attributed to their source. Not to define who gets paid, but to let the reader judge the stories credibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Overtkill (profile), Aug 8th, 2009 @ 2:30pm


    Newspapers harping and whining only serves to more negative PRESS. :) My opinion is: This is why good RSS feeds exists. Then they are offering you the chance to read their articles and present them to you directly. If the public likes what they read, they will likely follow the feed to the paper's website for more news. But then this is a 21st century solution. Locally, the newspaper agency here built the most god awful looking building ( http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&safe=off&q=salt+lake+tribune+building+utah+5600+west&i e=UTF8&sll=40.661108,-112.026633&sspn=0.006478,0.013314&filter=0&rq=1&ev=zi& radius=0.35&ll=40.665761,-112.02467&spn=0,359.996671&z=19&iwloc=A&layer=c&cb ll=40.665878,-112.024652&panoid=bA2rGx3L8KXOANIujEf7YQ&cbp=12,238.75,,0,5 ), and moved both the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News into it. Is this suppose to make us believe the paper is hip? I see it as a waste of construction materials. The Tribune's website ( http://www.sltrib.com ) has come a long way in the past couple of years, adding advertisements and such to supplement their income. I believe the paper will eventually have to move to online only, ending the "paper" circulation, once the older generation either passes away or moves online reading. I give them a max of 10 or so years before this happens. This seems to be the case in many cities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Nick, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 1:33am

    Another One...

    Another technology site failing to give credit where it's due...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    ASS, Jun 19th, 2010 @ 2:12am


    1 MORE

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    SURSUGATHALANA, Jun 19th, 2010 @ 2:15am

    Re: PHW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YUK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!............................................................ .................................................................................................... ................................................................................

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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