Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stealing stories

Every reporter knows what this is like: You break a big story. And the following day some rival organization takes your story, confirms it, and then publishes it as its own.
In daily newspapers, it's often the local TV station that "steals" stories and doesn't give credit.
In the B2B press, it's often the mainstream press that does the stealing.
And although I have heard a lot of reporters over the years complain about the practice, I've never seen anyone fight back until now.
Look at what Rafat Ali says about how the Wall Street Journal is taking stories from his PaidContent site and not giving credit.
The answer to this problem -- just as it is the answer to many of journalism's problems -- is transparency. If we can all learn to be more open about how we work, we will all wind up producing more truthful and professional work.
If you're unclear about how to attribute a story that someone else broke, use the phrase "was first reported in," as seen here and here.

ADDENDUM. 9/22: As reported in Cyberjournalist, the Wall Street Journal has seen the error of its ways.

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