There’s a train of thought out there that the Internet in ruining journalism.
Or more specifically, blogging is ruining journalism.
Ian Shapira of the Washington Post had an interesting column about it last week.
In it, he mentions about how a story of his is condensed into a few paragraphs on a blogging site. At first, he says he felt triumphant. His tone almost made it seem as if he felt vindicated, although he never says that. But that is what it seemed like.
But his editor mentioned to him that all his hard work was pretty much stolen, and he should be upset about it.
He then goes into detail about what it took to get his story, and compared it to what the blogging site, Gawker, did.
While much of his column talks about how the Internet steals from newspapers, he briefly mentions the vice-versa.
But newspapers take things from the Internet all the time.
Shapira mentions how the link to his story doesn’t come until the end of the blogger’s brief about his work. But that works both ways.
It used to be when there was a death that a paper was reporting about, a journalist would have to go to the grieving family and ask for a photo. Now, photos are taken from Facebook (with rarely a link to Facebook, much less the specific page the photo may have come from).
News from Twitter messages are rarely linked either.
If Shapira’s editor didn’t say anything to him, I don’t know if he ever would have been angry. It’s like the kid who falls and doesn’t get hurt, until everyone runs over and asks the kid if he is okay. Once the kid realizes that maybe he should be hurt, he starts crying.
Shapira comes across like that at times. But he does raise some interesting points (and to be fair, so goes Gawker).
Gawker does err when they say newspaper pieces should have opinion in them. On the contrary, newspapers should be straight facts, and let the reader make their own decisions on a story.
And I think both businesses would be better served if they linked (or mentioned their sources) right away.
It’s definitely a debate to keep an eye on.