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Ethics on double dipping?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BobSacamano, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. BobSacamano

    BobSacamano Member

    So, uh, I was talking to a friend about double dipping in journalism when we hit a disagreement. Obviously, we know we can't sell identical articles, word for word, to different publications--because that's a dick move.

    But, when covering an event, how do you guys feel about taking two different angles on the same material for differing publications? For example, a company unveiled their holiday line-up at a gaudy media event, so you write about the stuff for a tech magazine where you freelance. And then you double-up with the content for a holiday gift guide for another website where you write. Is that wrong?

    No paragraphs are the same, one article is longer than the other, and the directions veer down different paths. My buddy thinks that's wrong, but, as a freelancer, I think it's all fair game.

    Who's right?
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    This has been covered many times on this site. If you're freelancing for both, and one isn't your regular job, then it's fair game. If one's your regular job, clear it with them, and make sure their copy is in first.
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    If that's wrong, every AP baseball writer needs to be fired every night for submitting two different leads geared to the home markets of each team.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

  5. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I have a rule for our freelancers. As long as it's not our direct competition, I don't care who you write for as long as you submit me an original article about the assignment I have you covering. And, even then, as long as the stories are different enough it's fine.
  6. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    I actually live and work with this.
    I work full time for one paper and part time for another, with the six teams in common between them.
    My stories are never the same for both, though some of the quotes are.
    Neither paper has a problem, and the coaches seem to like it -- one less person for them to talk to for previews and game stories.
  7. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    This is right on.
  8. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I tell our freelancers if they want to do cover one game for us and one game for a competitor, as long as I get a story that's completely different from the competitor, I'm fine with it.
    Our competing paper and myself were sharing a freelancer (they'd schedule him on day, we'd take him the next) so their SE and I talked about it and we both agreed we were fine if he did one game for both of us, provided we got two different stories. One week, he didn't do two stories.
    Thankfully, my paper came out a day before the competitor's, but that was the end of that practice.
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    No problem with it, with all the disclaimers noted above.

    I don't want to prevent freelancers from making every dime they can on every assignment/event, as long as they're up front with everybody.
  10. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    I was doing a lot of stringing last year when I was not working full-time, and since I live in an area that hosts a lot of state championship events.

    So it could happen that I had a game where two papers from different parts of the state wanted coverage. As long as I cleared it with the sports editors and wrote different stories -- which you have to in that situation, focusing on the local team -- it was OK.

    I did a lot of coverage for the local paper during tournaments, and usually if I mentioned I was covering for an out-of-town paper, they would assign me to a game in a different time slot.
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    No ethical at all, as others have noted, IF you are up front with everybody involved.
    I have a great friend in this business and I have entered into sort of a "double dipping deal" with him. He has guys regularly at places I don't and he's fine with them sending me stuff here and there as long as he knows in advance and as long as he gets his stuff on time. It helps his guys and it gives me freelance material from people who know the subject.

    I used a lot of "double dippers" at FanHouse for the same reason. Sometimes I'd wait an hour longer for a story while the writer filed for his regular publication, but the story was worth the wait because it was better than what I might get elsewhere. Numerous members of this site took advantage of that deal with me. Good for them, good for me.

    We did have a guy at an earlier stop file for the OTHER pub first "because they had earlier deadlines." Tough shit. Unless we've worked something out in advance, our stuff FIRST. ALWAYS. Then you can double/triple/whatever did away.
  12. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    I just found out one of my stringers was double-dipping. I have a football power on the fringes of my coverage area and I took on a stringer at the beginning of the year who lived out that way, specifically so that I'd have someone to cover that team.
    After a few weeks of blowouts, I offered him a chance to cover a different game sometime, on the off-chance that writing about 58-0 games week in and week out was getting boring for him. He bristled at the idea, then told me that he was getting overwhelmed with other stuff and might not be available.
    The other stuff was evidently writing for another paper a few counties over. This past week, with him supposedly not available and the big team in that area playing its biggest conference rival, I called around to see if anyone else was staffing the game. Without calling him, he calls me and tells me he was planning on going to it and asks if I wanted a story. I got it from him, then checked online and say the exact same story he filed to me, word for word, on the other paper's site.
    I get that people do this. I have photogs who shoot for multiple places and a couple guys who write for various websites as well as me. But this guy 1- hid the double-dipping and 2- filed identical stories.
    Am I right to feel a little pissed off by this?
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