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Borrowing story ideas

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by nmsports, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. nmsports

    nmsports Member

    Not really sure where this belongs but I thought I'd post here. Please move if it should be elsewhere.

    Since there are so many learned folks who read this board, I'd like a little feedback on borrowing story ideas. When a national writer at a major sports website sees a local story in a daily newspaper, then makes one phone call to the same source as the original story, does some cursory background research and writes it up, is he obligated to or should he give credit to the original writer and/or publication as being the genesis of that story since he never would have known about if not for the original story?

    Thanks for the feedback.
  2. No.
  3. nmsports

    nmsports Member

    So when somebody's hard work and sources result in a breaking story, it's OK to poach that as if you had done all the original work yourself?
  4. Schottey

    Schottey Member

    If he uses any of your work verbatim, of course it's necessary to source.

    As for the existence of a story or the idea that a topic is relevant—That's public knowledge once you put it out there. One would hope the second columnist would do due diligence to advance the narrative rather than just rehash exactly what was already written, but we all know not everybody is that industrious.
  5. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Get used to it. It happens all the time.

    You gotta remember, the readers don't give a shit who broke the story first.
  6. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Got a PM here last month from a board member saying that because of circumstances he has much more time and wouldn't mind offering help in my book idea "The 27th Ouch!" (about pitchers who lose a perfect game on the 27th batter).

    Not sure when, or if, I'd get around to doing it though it seems like if I dedicated a hard few months to it I could get much of the information I needed. But I also want to travel to get some of that info and I don't know if I'd be able to do that anytime soon.

    So if the poster who PM'd wants to take that idea and write the book, the only thing I'd hope you do is credit me with the idea.
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Wasn't me, but now I'm going to do it and not cite either one of you. Sorry, suckas!
  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

  9. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    I've been on both sides of it. If the person isn't plagiarizing, but not doing anything other than rewriting your story it's annoying and kind of lame, but not exactly criminal.

    A lot of times a local reporter is taking a local angle and the national reporter is approaching it differently because he's got a different and wider audience. I saw a story in a college town paper one time and spun it into something a little different for a national website. The reporter who originally broke the story helped me out with a couple of phone numbers in exchange for a link back to his story.
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    You can't copyright an idea. Who's to say they didn't think of it a year ago and are just now getting around to writing it?

    If they quote you verbatim in a story, that's one thing. But just an idea... nope.

    I don't think you can even copyright headlines. Plenty of times when some national outlet (print, web, etc.) used the same headline I did. So who gets bragging rights there?
  11. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    "Exit Sandman"
  12. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    End'ter Sandman?
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