It is always a lot of fun to rile the people at the Joplin Globe, but judging from some of the comments that have been left on this blog over the past 24 hours, I question the understanding a few of them have of journalism in general and blogs in particular.
At least two took potshots at a small item I posted late last night about Clarksdale, Tenn., mulling over a Global Entertainment proposal. This was one of four articles I either quoted or posted links to from other newspapers, something which is generally done by blogs. At least one of the cheap shot artists who commented said it was one of the rare occasions on which I gave credit to my source. It is even more rare that I do not give credit to my sources.
I am fully aware that the Globe has done extensive coverage of Global Entertainment and Clarksdale, Tenn. What in the world does that have to do with posting an item about a story that appears in a Tennessee newspaper about something that is of interest to Joplin readers?
Another person talks about how there is no original reporting in this blog. I will grant you that much of this blog is not original reporting. Some of it is commentary, some of it is items taken from other media (with attribution and more often that not, with links), some of it is musings about the state of journalism in this area.
But anyone who says there is no original reporting in this blog needs a few lessons on what original reporting is. I don't even have to go back into the archives to come up with a few examples, most of them based on my combing over public documents:
-The connections between Advantage Waste, CHP Environmental and Allied Waste and the lawsuit filed against Advantage Waste, the company that is wanting to operate the Southwest Regional Landfill in Jasper County.
-A whole string of stories over the past 18 months or so about the problems of O'Sullivan Industries in Lamar (and before anyone starts raking me over the coals about it, yes, both the Lamar Democrat and KODE beat me to the story about a bankruptcy court judge's decision in favor of O'Sullivan concerning the city of Lamar's request for help with the company's utility payments.)
-Thorough examinations of area and statewide legislators and the campaign finance money and lobbyists' gifts they have received. With the Jack Abramoff scandal and everything that is going on in Washington, I would have thought this story would have become a priority for our area newspapers, but except for a one-shot by the Globe last summer, it has been woefully neglected- and it is a very serious problem.
-And, of course, the article that set off this most recent baying of Joplin Globe wolves, the $12.5 million settlement reached with a New York widow over the death of her husband in a RegionsAir (formerly Corporate Airlines) crash.
There are dozens and dozens of further examples.
When the Joplin Globe people initially picked up on this blog months ago, reporters picked up a number of ideas from it and ran with them. John Hacker, who was with the Globe at that time, took the information and came up with more on his own, doing it the old-fashioned way, he got on the phone and made calls and he actually checked out the original source documents. I can recall a story or two that Andy Ostmeyer did on the O'Sullivan situation, in which he, too, checked the source documents, then came up with further information on his own. The television stations in the area, the Neosho Daily News, and The Carthage Press have done the same thing. I have no problems with any of these, nor should I. That is the way it should be done.
That was not the way it was done in the Globe story on the air crash settlement yesterday. I did not get the idea that the reporter examined the documents from the U. S. District Courts in Texas, New York, and Missouri that I did; I did not get the feeling that he had looked over the National Transportation Safety Board's report on the crash as I did. I had the feeling that all of his research came from two sources, the Associated Press and The Turner Report. Only one of those sources was credited, the Associated Press. The lead of the story was about the settlement. As of last night, I could still find only two media sources for the settlement story...The Turner Report and The Joplin Globe. The apologists immediately began screaming about how unfair I was being and how bigheaded I was being for having the audacity to accuse the Globe of stealing a story. I might not have even mentioned it, except a few weeks back, a Globe reporter wrote two stories, both of which ran in the same edition (it was a different reporter, by the way), that appeared to follow the same formula. The story first appeared in this blog, then appeared in the Globe with no further original reporting and no facts in it that were different from those I ran initially.
There is nothing illegal about what the Globe has done. It is not plagiarism. Facts cannot be copyrighted. It is a question of ethics. It appears to me that the Globe apologists are trying to avoid the central problem by dragging in extraneous issues.
The fact that I have an ego, which I will readily admit, has nothing to do whatsoever with the Globe's recent transgressions. Worry more about your reporting and less about mine and maybe the Globe can get back to the stature it once had in this area.