Hopefully this Post reporter is wrong about his employer’s corporate policy.
Otherwise we’d have to rant about how the Post is watching the evolution of journalism with its eyes closed, its mouth humming, and its fingers stuffed in its ears.
Zachary Seward, Nieman Journalism Lab: For all the angst over online appropriation of newspapers’ work, information actually flows in all directions, right? Blog posts inspire newspaper articles, newspapers lift from other newspapers, and radio stations do the rip-and-read. So when a blogger uncovered a major zoning violation in her Brooklyn neighbourhood last month, it was only natural that the New York Post would pick up the story. But credit the blogger? That would be a violation of policy.
The Post prohibits crediting blogs and other competitors for scoops, according to the reporter, Alex Ginsberg, who noted the zoning violation two weeks after it was reported by the blogger, who calls herself Miss Heather. “Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print,” Ginsberg wrote in a gracious comment on the blog. “Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).”
The policy may have more to do with the Post’s rival, the Daily News, than with blogs, but it appears to apply across the board. In an email to Miss Heather, Ginsberg wrote, “The rules is this: if every detail, fact and quote can be independently verified, then we don’t have to credit anyone.” I put in a call yesterday afternoon to the Post’s PR firm, Rubenstein Associates, and this morning I emailed Ginsberg. I haven’t heard back from either.
Here’s what the post reporter, Alex Ginsberg, had to say to the writer whose work he ripped off:
Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).
I won’t discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I’ll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don’t credit.
UPDATE: The Post now tells Zachary at Nieman that it credits bloggers all the time. So perhaps Alex is mistaken:
[UPDATE, 1:28 p.m.: I just heard from Suzi Halpin, a spokeswoman for the Post, who told me, “The New York Post credits blogs, bloggers, and other media all the time, as our readers know.” I’m a fairly regular reader, but I’ll have to dive into their archives to recall how generous they are with hat-tips. It’s possible Ginsberg is completely wrong about the policy or that it’s more of an informal rule. Halpin wouldn’t answer my follow-up questions or put me in touch with anyone at the Post.]