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"Keep this exclusive"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BB Bobcat, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Talked to someone for a story this morning. About 90 minutes later, that person gets back to me and says he just talked to a reporter from a much larger organization for the same story and the guy from the big organization asked him to "keep it exclusive" until their story ran next week, so the guy asked if I could hold off on my story.

    It pisses me off that the big organization feels it can bully this poor guy in the middle into not only having him get back to me to retroactively undo his comments, but to prevent him from talking to anyone else in the meantime.

    Obviously, I already ran my thing.

    This seems like a no-brainer not even worth debate, but figured I'd post it anyway.
     
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If he called you to pitch the story and then wanted to renege for whatever reason, I might be willing to listen.

    If you called them and the source called back with that request, I would tell him that he needs to tell the big boy that he needs to be first if he wants to be exclusive.
     
  3. ringer

    ringer Member

    It sucks. No question. You did the right thing: scooped em.

    Here's another pisser in the same vein.

    When you're a freelancer for a variety of outlets (some big-time and some much smaller) an athlete's agent treats you great or like crap TOTALLY depending on who you're writing for -- as if you're not even the same person. Even worse, is when they send you to the back of the line and you know full well that the athlete's not even in demand.

    It's a shitty way to do biz and it's not a very good business model.

    I definitely remember those moments the next time a big-time magazine asks me which athletes to feature.
     
  4. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    That's thing, it wasn't even really a scoop. The whole story was not a big deal at all. If it was, the big paper would obviously have just run it right away rather than waiting a week. It speaks more to the arrogance of the big paper that they feel they can control the information to fit their schedule.

    I told the source that he shouldn't let the big paper bully him. It's in his best interest to tell his story to whoever calls.
     
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Several years ago, this came up with the bi-weekly I was working at, the big Daily next door and an Olympic athlete in two sports being stalked.
    The Big Reporter from the Big Paper we'll call the Peerf got the athlete not to talk to anyone about it -- including the area SE at our paper, who not only had seen her swim from age group but introduced her at a celebration at City Hall after she won a gold medal.
    the SE found out and ran a story on the stalker, based on police reports. The athlete flipped out, called the SE, told him that he hoped he enjoyed the millions of dollars his paper was going to make from the story and that big raise he had coming. All the SE did was report what was public record. She froze the SE out, wouldn't be interviewed by him; he'd take it in stride and report her results (for the record, I told him to fuck it, she wasn't worth it). When her brother noticed she wasn't being quoted, he asked the SE why. The SE told him and the brother was floored.
    The athlete and the SE took years to make it right; even then, she didn't understand why the SE ran the story after she promised the reporter from the Peerf she wouldn't talk.
    So good for you scooping them. Fuck the big city paper and the reporter. I still can't read this reporter's byline without thinking of this story, how the athlete turned on someone who had been there for her throughout her career and the way the reporter extracted the promise.
     
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    OK. Shoe on other foot.

    If you are the big-boy paper or magazine, do you ask sources not to talk to other outlets, or do you hand them business cards of all the area papers and TV stations?
     
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Neither. I do my story and not worry about the others.
    In this case, the athlete shit on someone who had supported her during her whole career. She is high strung, bi-polar and batshit crazy, which is ironic since she earned much of her income as a motivational speaker.
     
  8. ringer

    ringer Member

    So who broke the story? The biweekly?
     
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    That's the worst. I've been on both sides, working for Big National Company and small newspaper. You can see the eyeballs of the agents/PR hacks/whoever looking down for a quick check of the outlet on the credential, and depending on what they see, the conversation continues or it's buh-bye.

    On the other hand, you don't forget the reps who treated you the same regardless of affiliation. They're called "professionals."
     
  10. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    We're a small weekly with a competing daily in town which, naturally, gets a lot of stuff in before us. However, if we're the first -- key word, first -- to talk to someone for a feature article, we ask if they can hold off on talking to anyone else until after we run the story.
    If you're not first, it's fair game.
     
  11. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I disagree that any outlet has a right to expect any source not to talk to any other outlet. Period.

    You hold a story. You take a risk.
     
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I don't think I've ever asked someone not to talk to others unless they brought the issue up themselves or they were some PR person trying to work a deal.
     
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