Express & Star: getting that sense of deja-vu

Out on a ride this afternoon, whilst indulging in tea and cake shaped nutrition near Uttoxeter, I pulled out the phone to absent-mindedly check twitter. To my surprise, I had been direct messaged; the poster wanted to know if I’d seen page 14 of the Express & Star. A quick phone call home informed me that, yet again, the ‘quality’ local evening paper had apparently used this blog as the source for a story without crediting it.

The YamYam has covered it here – in essence, on the 24th I ran a story about some road marking on the new Arboretum Junction in Walsall being incorrect. Hey presto, on the 27th, the Express & Star contains this article – note how the council thanks the paper for bringing it to their attention.

Look, chaps, it’s irritating to get treated badly by a paper you formerly had some respect for, but come the second time, it just makes me wonder what kind of operation you’re engaged in. If I were to do this kind of thing in my job, I would not only be considered a plagiarist and a fraud, but I’d most likely be sacked and prosecuted. In my occupation, recycling other people’s work is considered dishonourable.

Why is it so damned hard to credit your source? What, exactly, is the problem with attribution to a non-profit, harmless local blog that would only be too happy to give you positive linking and good karma in return?

When I started this blog, I was quite positive about the quality of our local press. I thought it stood for integrity and honesty. These days, I’m not quite so sure. In an age where traditional print media such as the Express & Star are suffering due to the burgeoning citizen journalism scene and the continued attrition of constant news availability on the internet, this probably isn’t a good time to alienate the local bloggers, is it?

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5 Responses to Express & Star: getting that sense of deja-vu

  1. The Edditer says:

    Bob, I share your pain.

    I think you need to put a very obvious copyright statement on your blog, making it clear that use of your material as a source requires written permission which is not guaranteed and for which a fee may be charged.

    You should also write (politely) to the Editor of the Express & Star pointing this out and explaining the reason why. They are a good paper and in fairness the situation probably hasn’t reached his ears!

    I quite often put stuff the way of the Walsall Chronicle as I write for them on a monthly basis, and anything they do is with my approval and knowledge, though they’re not obliged to publish everything!

    The problem you sometimes get these days is that everyone from the gutter press to the Beeb thinks citizen journalists’ work is fair game, probably because we’re not protected by a union.

    Fair do’s for citizen journos I say!

    – The Edditer

  2. stymaster says:

    Now, if you just wrote a load of old shite on the web, like I do, they wouldn’t feel the need to steal it ;-).

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