BrownhillsBob does the Express & Star’s homework – whilst they relocate Shire Oak to Brownhills Market…

Lead-in front page article from Express & Star, 11th June 2009
Lead-in front page article from Express & Star, 11th June 2009

Cheers, guys… When you contacted me and expressed interest in my blog post about Shire Oak reservoir, I was naturally flattered – everyone who creates a blog about anything on the net dreams of getting something into the conventional printed media, and the thought of getting a credit of some kind in the Express & Star was quite exciting. Imagine my surprise this evening when I happened upon the local evening paper to find there was a whole feature about Shire Oak Reservoir, complete with lead-in on the front page. The article was clearly derived from my earlier blog post, but bore no kind of reference whatsoever to the Brownhills Blog.

I was contacted after posting the original blog article by Richard Williams from the Express & Star, who was thinking about carrying a feature on the reservoir, but because I wanted to remain anonymous, he’d informed me that he’d be running his own version of the story. I mailed back saying that was fine, but it’d be nice to get a credit to the blog. I never a received a reply, sadly, and nor did I get credited. I find that a bit sad, to be honest; it doesn’t seem a great hardship to attach some acknowledgement to the source of a story, even if it is mid-paper filler such as this.

Grumping aside, there’s a glaring inaccuracy in the printed article – that offer to go halves on a proof reader still stands. The Google Earth image heading the article is hilarious – it doesn’t show the reservoir site at all, but it does highlight Brownhills Market! One assumes they visited the site, so it’s a bit silly not to be able to find it on a map. I bet that raised a smile amongst the locals. This isn’t unusual with articles in the paper about Brownhills – in this one they illustrated their article with a picture of the wrong construction site.

The cost was £464, not £463, by the way. From the passage that I quoted, it’s difficult to say whether that was the cost of the land or the whole project.

I have this message for the Express & Star – yeah, I was indeed flattered by your interest, and I guess I was naive to imagine that the local blogs are anything more than a hunting ground for easy copy. Should you feel like doing the same again, try investigating this story about Humphries House – those people really need some answers, and deserve more publicity than I can get them here.

Express and star 11th June 2009: Secret reservoir is revealed
Express and star 11th June 2009: Secret reservoir is revealed

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  • James

    It seems the Express and Star think it acceptable to steal material from blogs and represent it as their own story and not credit the sources who do the hard work researching it.

    The newspaper layout of the article in the paper looks like your blog and verges on plagiarism.

    And they can’t even copy down the facts right – and they make a huge blunder – LOL !

    It’s incompetent, ignorant and rude.

    I feel angry for you

    Richard Williams and his editor owe you an apology.

  • Not excusing anything but there may be an alternative explanation: that there was a credit in the raw copy but it was cut out by the sub during copyfitting.

    You could also contact them and ask for a tip off fee. You gave them the story in return for a credit. No credit means you’d like a fee for giving them the story. Or set this up as your M.O. for next time. The regionals are used to receiving stories for free so they may have just assumed this was the case.

    It happened to me with the Birmingham Mail – I got £20 for the tip off after complaining when my story was splashed across page 3.

  • Do the terms & conditions of Google Maps permit commercial use of the satellite photography in this way?

    The rights owners of the imagery may well have a legal claim over the E&S too…

  • davina49

    It makes you wonder how many other stories in the newspapers are stolen and uncredited from blogs…

  • The Plastic Hippo

    A bit of a slow news day, Bob.

    Running the Ronaldo story on the front page seems like a cry for help. You did them a favour and I agree that you should have had a credit for the story.

    It could have been worse thought. The E&S may not be good at geography, but at least they got the right borough.

    Imagine the alternative. A story about Reservoir Dogs lifted directly from Wikipedia.

    I hope Brownhills Market doesn`t sink.

  • Mark

    Must remember to wear my wellies when I’m next down Brownhills market

  • I saw the story and immediately thought ‘rip-off’. Good to see journalistic integrity is as high as ever.

  • Nice one Bob! A local blogger gets it right and gets it first again :O)

    Shame on you, Express & Star guy!

    – The Edditer

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