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Latest from Lipsyte: Ethics and attributiion

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HanSenSE, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    The attribution argument there drives me nuts.

    If Reporter A has a story, and Reporter B later speaks to the same source and confirms the same source, Reporter B owes Reporter A NOTHING.

    If Reporter B can't confirm it on his own, he must absolutely attribute the information to Reporter A. Once he's confirmed it, that's it.

    There's no cosmic scoreboard for this stuff. Readers do not give a shit who had it first. I don't see this stuff anywhere but in sportswriting, to the point where I wonder if a huge percentage of the sportswriter population simply doesn't understand what attribution even means.

    And just so I'm clear on this: ESPN's practice of referring to other published reports as "sources" is absolute bullshit. Those are not sources. Those should be attributed to the reporter and/or publication. But once the information is independently confirmed, attribute it to the actual source -- the AD, a player, whatever -- and stop the ridiculous who-had-it-first scoreboard.
  3. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I agree with you in practice, because that's just how things work now. Getting all riled up about it is a bit ridiculous.

    Ethically, however, I think it is pretty shitty. If you wouldn't have found the story in any other way than reading the other reporter's story, I think you should cite the original reporting out of professional courtesy.

    Just because you should, though, doesn't mean any reporter is obligated to do so.
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Case in point:

    I don't even know WTF "professional courtesy" means, but you should do some background on this and see just how many stories over the years have been written without the "attribution" you're looking for. Hell, that is one of the main ways to get a story in the first place -- see it in another publication. If this is an ethical violation, the New York Times and Sports Illustrated have committed tens of thousands of such violations over the years.
  5. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    If that's the main way you're getting your stories, you're not very good at your job.
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