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How to react, if at all...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by trench, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. trench

    trench Member

    Earlier this year I write an in-depth feature on an athlete. The piece gets a good deal of positive feedback and it probably ranks as one of the best I've penned. Stories on him start popping up. Recently, I come across one that's pretty close. It's not textbook plagiarism because nothing was taken verbatim. But a lot of the anecdotal stuff was re-hashed and re-worded with a pretty thin veil. Just enough its own piece that I don't feel like it's actionable or worth a formal complaint, but just enough to rub wrong.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    If the athlete's story is becoming nationally known, you're going to have to get used to others getting the same story that you wrote. It's not like the guy's past history has changed. To get his background, reporters are going to talk to the same people that you did. Their stories about the athlete are going to be the same as the ones they told you, with any updated info.
  3. partain

    partain Member

    I've worked with athletes who tell the same stories the exact same way day after day after day. It only stands to reason that stories about them are going to come out very similar. I'd assume that's the case here and let it go.
  4. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    There's nothing you can do. This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon practice.
    Some writers believe that original material is most important.
    Some are arrogant enough to believe that a story hasn't really been written until they've taken their crack at it. There are far more of those. And they're some of the biggest names in this business, unfortunately.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah, trench, this is pretty common. Unless the stories take your paragraphs or quotes, the story isn't gonna change that much.

    It's not about a deaf "Olympic" wrestler, though, is it?
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Nope, this one is about a hearing-impaired wrestler. You have to protect the integrity of the sport.
  7. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    If it's really on your mind, and you feel like your stuff got stolen, go to your editor with it and talk it out. Have him read it and see what it says. Any complaint to the other publication should come from him. You know, professional stuff, not just you being pissed at someone.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Based on what I've read here, I don't think it's actionable.

    If he took stuff verbatim, that's when you should get your editor involved.
  9. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't necessarily call it arrogance.

    If you've written something for a small-circulation outlet and it becomes a national story, most of the people reached by that larger-circulation outlet won't know the story. As long as it's not plagiarizing, the larger outlet is doing the right thing by retelling the story for its audience.
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