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Should this be interpreted as a red flag ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Tom_Brinkman01, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. I just started at a midsized daily that, prior to my arrival, stopped all pro and college coverage -- we only cover preps. We exclusively use AP stories and press releases even though pro and college games are only a few miles away -- my SE even had me do write-ups off the television and radio. First of all, is using unattributed television and radio reports for print news briefs (no byline, of course) ethical? Secondly, how common is it for midsized newspapers (about 40,000 circ.) to abandon all pro and college coverage in their own town and exclusively use wire stuff?
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    If it's right in town, that's very strange, I think.

    We've debated the TV/radio ethics thing extensively here. Nobody likes it, but we pretty much agree no datelines. We're more divided on the byline issue.
  3. Bears00

    Bears00 Member

    No datelines and no bylines.
  4. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member


    If you write 10" of original material, it deserves a byline. Period.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Pube/hole/whatever your name is:

    I'm all for strong opinions. Believe me, I am.

    But are you seriously saying there's no gray area about bylines on a story someone didn't cover in person?
  6. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    If they're having you plagiarize and use stuff without attribution, you don't WANT your byline on it.
  7. JME

    JME Member

    I would say it's DEFINITELY a red flag. Has the SE given you a reason why you don't cover all of this stuff?
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    If you have your main beat guy do a story remotely, based on information obtained electronically, I think your readers should know that your beat writer wrote it. No dateline, just a byline.

    If you want a disclaimer on the bottom -- radio and TV were used to compile this report, or whatever -- fine. But I want the readership knowing their local "expert" is writing the story.

    There's great disagreement on this board about this, and that's cool. This is my opinion on it.
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    If the "local expert" writing the story uses radio, TV and Internet sources more than very, very rarely, then he isn't an "expert." He's just another Joe Blow fanboy surfng the Web.
  10. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    So, Starman:

    You're saying if I have a college beat guy, and he's with the team all week, he covers every home game and has great contacts, knows the players and coaches ... but the budget won't allow travel ... that he's reduced to a fanboy if he writes something about a road game using all that knowledge, and those sources -- and the TV, radio and web?

    We're in complete disagreement then.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Writing a game story off TV or radio constitutes a "reproduction" of the account of the game.

    It's Illegal.

    Not to say I've never, ever done it, but I would never, ever put a byline on it.

    And anyway, you've got AP.

    If your publisher wants readers to think your beat writer is the absolute expert on all subjects concerning a particular team, here's a novel concept: Send the beat writer to cover the games.
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    At my first full-time job we did this. We staffed NFL home and away, the other pros just at home. We'd write off TV, but no byline, no dateline. We were giving readers more than the wires but less than the competition, so I don't know that we accomplished much.

    One night the TV was broken. Someone found a key to the publisher's office and sent the staff pig to watch the game and write running. He brought a tub of KFC with him. Next morning, the publisher arrives to find chicken bones on his desk as if someone had performed an animal sacrifice in his office. When he tried to call security, his hand slipped off the greasy phone.
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