Washington Post Reporters Upset About Links To Blogs
The staff at the Washington Post apparently don’t like the fact that the paper is offering links to what the blogosphere is saying about them via Technorati…after all, criticism from others on them criticising others is a terrible thing really :-)
According to the Post’€™s ombudsman, Deborah Howell, some reporters aren’€™t happy:
Some Post reporters don’€™t appreciate that links are put on the Web site to what bloggers are saying about this or that story ‘€” especially when the bloggers are highly negative.
Journalists are spoilsports aren’t they!
I think the Washington Post partnership with Technorati is great and has actually driven me to be a consistent reader of the Washington Post online edition.
I hope the “journalists” don’t destroy the partnership. It would however be an indication of the continuing insecurity journalists feel given the growth and popularity of the blogosphere.
And it’s not just the Washington post; I received a very harsh phone call last week from the tiny regional Shoreline Beacon that started off accusing me of “plagerism” for “publishing complete stories” from their website and while there were no death-threats, there was a line dropped that I might want to “contact your lawyer” about the legality of what I had done, saying that every word and every link in the Shoreline Beacon was copyright material and not to be reproduced without express permission of her office.
Trouble was, it wasn’t me publishing “complete stories”. It was Google including 20-word excerpts in their GoogleNews RSS search results! She’d gone ballistic because I had reprinted (within the Google terms) keyword search results that just happened to contain her paper’s items!
I tried to explain how Google was already publishing this very same list of excerpts. “Thank you for telling me that!”
I asked if she was just bullying the little guys like me, or if she was going to also draw legal force against Google (and Yahoo! ) and she assured me she wasn’t calling me because I was an easy kill and fully intended to hunt down and stop all unlicensed reproduction of their work because “they pay journalists to write for their website” (which seemed a non-sequiteur to me).
I also added that Archive.org was indeed publishing complete copies of all their stories … dating back to Jan 2001! She added them to her hit-list and thanked me again.
I didn’t mention the 9000 other sites which google cites as having Shoreline Beacon content embedded either due to Google or just from their own cut and paste. I suggested she request Google remove their site from their indexing (which Google will do) and do the same with the Yahoo! and Archive.org, but since those are just the tip of the iceberg, a better solution would be to password-protect all news on their site, which would not prevent rebroadcasters such as the FoRK-list, or better still, just stay off-line.
She added that she did not know of a single news publisher who did not consider every word of their work to be under strict copyright. I explained how the BBC and the CBC both encourage the use of their headlines and excerpts and publish a fine collection of RSS feeds expressly for this purpose so as to drive traffic to their site, but that was dismissed as irrelevant and immaterial: “They are publically funded.”
Like I said in my blog recounting of this tale, “You can always tell a journalist. You just can tell ’em much“
MrG’s experience is worth reading. I went over and read the tale. I don’t know if I should laugh or just roll my eyes at the ignorance of that newspaper, who shall remain nameless lest they think I am citing them in some way. No wonder newspapers are going out of business and become the new dinosaurs on their way to extinction. Apparently the lady at the small regional paper needs to speak to her lawyer first, assuming they even have one with halfway decent savvy of online and media issues. Anyways, just a sign of why more readers prefer to get their news online. Make it harder for them to get their information from you, and they will just go elsewhere. Sounds like signing your death sentence to take that attitude, but hey.
How sad .. and I thought we were all getting over this MSM vs bloggers thing. Seems like the powers that be at Washington Post are getting into blogging (the deal with Technorati is a good start) yet the journo’s are throwing a hissy fit – why? because gosh darn it, it’s okay to write your piece but critisicism is way out of bounds…
Weclome to the new world old-time journo’s: where what you say is open for comment and critiscism – good and bad – in an instant.