New York Times Sorta Apologizes to MSM for Not Crediting Reporting, but Not to Blogs

One of the things that has annoyed me is that the few times I’ve broken stories (this blog is mainly in the business of commentary and analysis, not reporting), I’ve had it picked up by the MSM and not been attributed as the party that broke the story.

This kind of “bloggers as second class citizens” behavior by the MSM continues in a wee scandal at the New York Times. The New York Times issued an apology of sorts to the Wall Street Journal because one of its Dealbook reporters, Zack Kouwe, was picking up stories broken by other news publications and not crediting the source (the curious can read the details, courtesy the New York Observer).

Teri Buhl at the Connecticut Post describes how Dealbook had failed give Mortgage Implode-o-Meter credit for story it broke on IndyMac:

E-mails were sent to the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin altering him of the news break on December 26th. Then to Kouwe on December 28th asking for an explanation on why Dealbook did not credit Mortgage Implode-O-Meter, when half a dozen other publications including the LA Times had. According to Dealbook’s Web site at the time, Sorkin was listed as Dealbook’s editor. Sorkin did not respond but Kouwe did. In a letter to the author of the story seen by Greenwich Time Kouwe wrote:

I don’t know what to tell you. Things move so quickly on the Web that citing who had it first is something that is likely going away, especially in the age of blogs.

The New York Time Company corporate Web site states:

Dealing With Competitors
33. We compete zealously but deal with competitors openly and honestly. We do not invent obstacles to hamstring their efforts. When we first use facts originally reported by another news organization, we attribute them.

This last sentence seems to contradict what was actually the mindset of this NYT Dealbook reporter.

Kouwe also wrote:

For instance Dealbreaker and other blogs report on a lot of stories, but I don’t think anybody has ever cited them as being first with a particular scoop. I’ve had it happen to me a bunch of times at The Post and it really didn’t bother me because most readers just don’t care. They don’t read bylines and they don’t care about whether one paper cited a website or another paper in their stories.

Yves here. The story also describes a 2008 incident where Dealbook took a story from Dealbreaker without giving credit, and indicated that there have been other Dealbook stories where Dealbreaker readers complained in comments that Dealbook should have indicated that Dealbreaker originated the story (some of these cases are not as clear cut, since the source that leaked the story to Dealbreaker may have done so independently to the New York Times).

AOL’s Dailyfinance reports that Krouwe has been suspended.

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  1. Bee

    Well Yves I will be buying your book (I don’t trust tip jars).

    But I hope you define what enlightened self interest is


  2. Hugh

    You are correct the MSM as a rule don’t credit bloggers for breaking stories. Kouwe’s explanation is especially egregious because on the web one of the easiest things to do is leave a link or extend a hat tip. Of course, bloggers don’t always credit each other when they should.

  3. bob

    The MSM is cutting staff, increasing ad space, product placement and text size.

    Less content, more wrapper.

    How do you expect them to compete?

    Notice I said compete, not report. They gave up on reporting when they started sucking on the corporate tit.

    The ‘broadcast journalism’ schools are leading the trend. Almost all of them are specializing in sports broadcasting. The events are staged, and come to clear concise conclusions at the end. Perfect for people who don’t want to have to think about more than 2 sides to a story.

    The corporate masters of the universe also get a kick back in order to provide access to the ‘sports industry’. Sign of things to come?

    Lets just change the focus and hope no one notices.

  4. jake chase

    Personally, I am grateful when there is anything worth reading in the NYT, regardless of where they steal it.

    Is there really a Doris Kearns Goodwin School of Journalism or is that just an on line thingy?

  5. john newman

    On page E2 of the digit smearing print edition the Times today announces that Kouwe has “resigned”.

    In the wake of the Times article about the cute young plagiarists in Berlin last week I’m now as confused on where they stand on plagiarism as I am about their stand on the economy. And they actually have a pretty big stake in both of these: they can’t seem to figure out what their own interest is anymore.

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