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To narc? Or not to narc?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SellOut, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. SellOut

    SellOut Member

    Work in a decent-sized city (has multiple major sports teams) that gets a strong following from both the city papers and the suburban ones.
    I stumble upon one of the suburban papers the other day (I was in the neighborhood). I buy the paper to give the sports section a look. I notice there's a story on the previous night's NHL game by a widely known freelancer who has worked in the area for years.
    Story was fine, save for one thing. The writer was not at the game. I know this because I was at the game. I forgot about it, then decided to check again after the NHL team's next home game (a few days later). Same thing. Byline. Dateline. Quotes. Details, etc. Except the guy again was a no-show, at least in the press box.
    At this point I ask one of the media relations people "hey, have you guys credentialed this freelancer." Flak says "yeah, but he has never picked up his credential. Not last year, not this year."
    This freelancer is in his mid-50s. He's been a fixture at other events in this town for years and to my knowledge is pretty well respected though we've had little to no interaction. He also has some significant health issues.
    I don't know his relationship with the SE at the suburban paper. Maybe this is an agreement they have, the guy writing gamers with quotes (the team provides postgame audio via email) from home because going to the arena is too taxing on his health.
    Still, by putting a byline and a dateline on this, isn't this fraud? I mean just out and out fraud? And isn't this guy stealing work from other freelancers (NOTE, I am not a freelancer) by doing this?
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I don't like the byline/dateline thing but maybe that isn't his doing? Do a little more research into it, the health thing may be a factor. Hell, he may be raising as much hell over the dateline/byline.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I wouldn't blame you if you turned him in and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

    I found out about something a guy at one of our competing papers did and I could have easily gotten him fired, but I didn't want that on my conscience, even though I could have easily justified doing it...
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Hell, the guys ahead of the curve. Pretty soon we'll all be covering events from TV.
  5. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    That's happening now.
    BEFORE you do anything, ask yourself, "what do I have to gain from saying anything?" There may be something going on as others have stated that you're not privy to.
    Know all the facts before jumping to any conclusions.
  6. ringer

    ringer Member

    If he really wrote the story, then the byline's not a fraud. If he really wrote it in the city indicated in the dateline, that's not fraud either.

    Like Drip said, it's imperative that you know the truth before saying a word. If you really want to get to the bottom of it, email the writer, ask how he's doing, say you missed him at the game, and how was he able to get the story, and whether writing remotely is the direction that his paper is going. Be cool about it and do it because you care. Don't assume he's pulling a fast one.
  7. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    Snitches get stitches.
  8. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    And are often found in ditches.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    So if I see someone swipe a purse off a co-worker's desk, I should keep my mouth shut unless I get something for talking?
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    No, but if you know the purse swiper, maybe you could email him first. Be cool about it and do it because you care.

    Maybe he had permission to grab the purse. Maybe it's a health thing.
  11. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Are you the girl who screeches "They're breaking the rules!" ??

    How does this affect you? Why do you care? Stealing freelance work from someone else? Why do you care?
  12. Didn't a guy get fired from the San Francisco Chronicle a few years ago for writing a giants gamer even though he wasn't at the game? And now suddenly we're cool with this? This isn't a blogger doing it for his own web site? This guy is a "journalist." Wondering if any SE's on this board (besides Moddy) would let this fly in their section?
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