When The NY Times Builds On Other's Work, I Guess That's Journalism [Updated]
from the but-when-others-do-it...-it's-piracy? dept
Too often it amounts to taking words written by other people, packaging them on your own Web site and harvesting revenue that might otherwise be directed to the originators of the material. In Somalia this would be called piracy. In the mediasphere, it is a respected business model.Now, as I said at the time, this is a pretty silly way to look at things. But it struck me as especially interesting since last week, we broke the news about the feds censoring Dajaz1.com for a year, before giving back the domain name. That was Thursday morning. Friday evening, the NY Times wrote its own version of the story... with nary a mention of our story. Their story didn't add anything beyond reporting what we and some others had done previously.
Now, let me be absolutely clear: I actually don't think crediting whoever scooped a story is really that big a deal. I tend to think it's a nice and neighborly thing to do, but hardly required, and I think some people put too much emphasis on it. However, I think it's kind of amusing that a newspaper like the NY Times, whose bosses have complained about others doing this kind of thing, would so regularly do this themselves. And, yes, the NY Times does this all the time. And, for what it's worth, people definitely noticed.
My point is not to complain about not getting a mention. My point is to highlight how the NY Times' looking down on other publications for supposedly just taking their stories and how that's "piracy," might deserve a pretty big rethink. News travels around in a lot of ways. Sometimes the NY Times gets there first, and sometimes they don't. Attacking others for reporting on the same thing they've reported on is going to make them look foolish when they do the same thing, as happened here.
Update: This morning both the editor and the reporter emailed to apologize and say that the original story did, in fact, mention Techdirt, but it got edited out by accident. To be honest, it's for reasons like this that I noted above that many people focus too much on the whole "credit" issue. The point of this post was never to demand credit, but to point out how when you always demand credit, it can come back to bite you. Either way, I appreciate the NY Times' quick response and the apology.