NY Post Reporter Admits That It's Company Policy Not To Credit Blogs Or Other Sources

from the parasites? dept

Remember that Washington Post reporter last month who got all sorts of attention for claiming that a Gawker writer "ripped off" his story, despite linking to it multiple times? Many mainstream press folks sided with Shapira, in using this as an example of how blogs "parasite" newspapers. Yet, as the actual numbers show, the real relationship is quite symbiotic, with stories moving back and forth across alternative media and traditional media. And... it seems pretty clear that alternative media is a lot more likely to give credit and/or link to an original story. We've highlighted a few different cases of those traditional newspapers taking stories from bloggers without credit.

Charles Vestal points us to another such case, but in this one, the reporter confessed and noted that it was company policy not to credit bloggers. In this case, it involved a local New York City blog that goes by the charming name NewYorkShitty.com. Last month, it reported on an illegal gym in the neighborhood. A little over a week later, the big News Corp/Rubert Murdoch-owned NY Post wrote an article covering just that story that seemed pretty obviously taken straight from the original.

So, the author of the blog post, one "Miss Heather" contacted one of the NY Post reporters, who quite openly admitted to using the blog post for his story, and then said it's against corporate policy to credit bloggers with scoops. Apparently, the same applies at the NY Daily News as well:
Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

I won't discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I'll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don't credit.
Now, this isn't a surprise, but how come that Washington Post reporter's claims of blogs being "parasites" got so much attention a few weeks ago, when it involved a clear case where the blog quite deliberately cited and linked to the original -- but a situation like this, where the NY Post blatantly got the story from a blog and admits it, doesn't get any attention at all?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Yohann, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    Turn it around...

    Fine. I say it works both ways. Start taking from the NY Post vertabim and simply say "Sorry. It's not in *my* company's post to give credit to the NY Post when I leech stories from them."

    They either fight that and expose themselves as hypocrits, or let it go fairly and not say anything, in which case the blogger wins. Simple.

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

  2. icon
    Designerfx (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Turn it around...

    We already do that. Remember that AP fiasco? I mean come on, they even asked for money from us in order to credit them basically. I can't believe they didn't think about the fact that what if someone denies they are reprinting an AP article?

    on my blog (name not shared here), I only credit sites I like. newspaper sites? Never credited. Techdirt, slashdot, arstechnica, wired? Always credited.

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

  3. identicon
    AC's long lost brother, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Turn it around...

    Actually the blogger wins either way. If the papers fight it and expose themselves, it gives bloggers that much more credibility. And if they say nothing, it looks like the bloggers are keeping step with the 'big boys'. Like mike said, the reality is that mainstream media 'leeches' from bloggers every bit as much, if not more, as bloggers 'leech' from them.

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

  4. identicon
    Jake, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Notice the 'or anyone else'. I wonder what that might mean, or what their definition of 'independent verification' is?

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

  5. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:54pm


    "Notice the 'or anyone else'. I wonder what that might mean, or what their definition of 'independent verification' is?"

    Not sure about their standards for verification (i.e., if they have any) but they frequently gank stories from other newspapers and/or media. No surprise that they treat bloggers at least as badly.

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

  6. identicon
    Eric the Grey, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 12:54pm


    Aren't there laws, or at least rules against plagiarism in the newspaper world? I would think so.


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

  7. identicon
    Yohann, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Nice...

    Someone once said "Good writers borrow. Great writers steal."

    Funny saying, but it sort of fits in a lot of situations.

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

  8. icon
    Money Mike (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 2:38pm

    I'm surprised nobody else pointed it out, but the most appalling thing to me is the part in the "apology" where Mr. Ginsberg finishes with "Looking forward to “amplifying” more of your good work in the future."

    He basically tells her that he's going to continue stealing and reprinting her work as his own. That guy's got balls!

    Apparently it doesn't matter, though, because Miss Heather replies to him with "Thank you— I think" followed by a wink emoticon.

    I interpret that as her being in awe of Mr. Ginsberg and basically implying that it's OK, simply because he signed up for her blog and replied in the comments, therefore acknowledging her existence.

    Maybe it's just me, but I really think she comes across as a wide-eyed fan with her reply. It's too bad because she has every right to flip out on thiat parasite.

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

  9. icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    Acceptable, but...

    Although it's totally acceptable for a publication to do this (take a lead, do their own reporting and the not credit), I must say I prefer the blog climate in which everything is credited and interlinked. I already rarely take news stories at face value until finding more than one original source and several viewpoints, which is a habit I developed thanks to blogs. Also, there's the fact that re-doing all the footwork is silly and a waste of time.

    Many newspapers in this world have managed to assemble truly amazing teams to do what they do. I really hope that at least a few manage to figure things out and survive and help lead the way in "new journalism", or whatever you want to call it.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    In other countries they at least credit blogs, but only if the writer is known, somehow, by name. Apparently the name is more important than even the truth.

    F the truth if you don't know who wrote it, right, 'cause anonymity only has value if it generates money.

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

  11. identicon
    Tim, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    License the bog...

    Since Click-through licenses were ruled legal, just add a rider in the T.O.S. that any for-print or internet arm of a for-print publication may not browse the site without first paying a fee and agreeing to cite all data used in articles to the site in question.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2009 @ 1:28am

    Re: License the bog...

    GREAT IDEA!!!! That's what bloggers should do. Copyright your material and say that it's free for non - commercial use. If some newspaper copies it, copyright infringement. If the courts don't enforce it then everyone can blog about how the system has more double standards in terms of helping rich and powerful entities and ruling in their favor but when poor and powerless entities are faced with similar situations the courts do not rule in their favor. This is a win - win situation for bloggers either way; either it stops news sites from copyright infringement or the blogs show the world how the courts discriminate against bloggers for no good reason.

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2009 @ 1:38am

    Re: Re: License the bog...

    Or, bloggers should license the work provided that people cite the original author and blog and URL and if they don't they are infringing. This way the mainstream media either can't steal the work or they must cite the blog. Again, if they do steal the work and courts discriminate against blogs while discriminating for mainstream media in the case of click through licenses and such then everyone has something to blog about, the discriminatory nature of our corrupt system.

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

  14. icon
    David (profile), Sep 5th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Not plagiarism

    I would like to point out, contrary to some comments above, that this was not plagiarism. This newspaper liked the story, and did its own version. So, it took the blogger’s story to point out that something could be reported about, but they didn’t copy word for word. It might have been nice for them to say “It was pointed out last week in the blog by so-and-so, and we did our own reporting and this is what we found.”

    Of course, they also don’t credit it when it appears in another newspaper first, or someone gets a story idea sitting on the can, or because the editor forces them to write about it, or because, you know, it’s actually news.

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

  15. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Sep 5th, 2009 @ 4:23pm


    I guess those who claim that we need ever stronger copyright to protect their precious stories don't have respect for the creative work of others.

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

  16. icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Sep 5th, 2009 @ 8:48pm

    News piracy

    This reminds me of a funny story I heard when I was working for the Associated Press back in the Teletype days many years ago.

    A correspondent for the AP had a habit of starting stories, then if he didn't like what he'd written, ripping the unfinished copy out of the typewriter and tossing it in the trash. Well, while he was at lunch the correspondent for a rival news service who shared the same room would come over and raid his trash can and pick up some hot leads for his own stories. Eventually the AP guy found out what was going on, started a phony story about some impropriety by a state legislator and planted it in his trash can. True to form, his rival retrieved the loaded story and put it on his wire without even bothering to check the facts. Turned out there wasn't a word of it true. To the best of my knowledge that was the last time he ever raided the AP's trash can.

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

  17. identicon
    Ben Zayb, Sep 6th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Acceptable, but...

    The problem with this situation is, it's the newspapers that first used the "parasitic" adjective against bloggers. If this non-crediting of leads is an acceptable practice in journalism, then mainstream practitioners shouldn't complain if "alternative" practitioners practice the same.

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

  18. identicon
    Law Andy, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 2:00am

    Good post.thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needed. thanks for a great source.

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

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