Saturday, November 24, 2007

And Associated Press helped, too

Over the years, I have seen many daily newspapers take Associated Press stories, localize them and give a small credit to the wire service either at the beginning or end of the article. Localizing state and national stories is one of the duties of a daily newspaper and, after all, it does pay AP for the use of its articles.

That being said, a Branson Daily News reporter apparently has taken a different approach to this time-honored practice.

In an article posted online earlier this morning, featuring reporter Darrin Miller's byline, it appears an AP article posted four days earlier was simply rewritten, with no localized Branson content added, and passed off as original work.

As far as I can determine, the only information that did not come from the AP story, came from a news release issued by Governor Matt Blunt's office. The article began with the following quote taken from the news release and made to appear as if it was obtained through the work of the writer:

“Trish is a competent administrator and a dedicated public servant - she knows how to lead and manage people. In her new role as Chief of Staff, Trish will be charged with managing my office, staff and cabinet and helping me move Missouri forward.”


Hopefully, this was just an oversight by the Branson newspaper. Occasionally, an editor adds a byline to an article submitted by a reporter, but readers need to have an idea where their information is coming from, whether it be from original reporting by the local newspaper, a wire service, or from a publicity release.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

tattletale

Fourth Estate said...

Media consolidation and the drive for news to be a "profit center" will ensure this type of reporting will continue. No one will be held accountable and the "fourth estate" continues it's failure to fully educate and inform the public. We all need to remember that we live in a capitalistic society and it's all about the money baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to any of you that 99 percent of newspaper readers really don't give a damn where the information in the story came from? To say that readers "need" to know where the information came from is wrong. As long as a newspaper has a good reputation for printing honest news, who cares.

Randy said...

I refuse to believe that readers do not care where the information comes from. And it makes a world of difference if the information comes from a reporter's interview with a politician, or from a self-serving news release issued by that same politician. The only means readers have to determine if the information in an article is valid is by having as much knowledge as possible about the source of stories. On those occasions where the sources cannot be revealed, at that point it depends on the amount of faith the reader has in the media outlet or in that particular reporter.

Anonymous said...

Randy,
This is a case where you are looking at it from a reporter's point of view and not a reader's.
I'll admit your point holds water in the case of news releases, but to the vast majority of readers the difference between AP and a local reporter is marginal at best.
Do you distrust all AP fare because it generally doesn't have bylines?

Randy said...

Not at all. But there is a big difference between a reporter putting his byline on a story and then putting in little or no original work into the story. This particular story does not credit the news release, and most discerning readers (and there are many of those out there) understand that there ia a world of difference between a quote someone gives to a reporter and a news release quote.

Darin said...

Good call Randy, The Branson Media has refused to follow and ethical guidelines whatsoever. Thanks for setting the record straight.

It appears that the line (the Associated Press contributed to this story was posted at the end of the document).

Was this changed?

Randy said...

Not that I know of.

Darin said...

Randy, could you review the story? Before I cite your work I'd like to know if the

(Associated Press Contributed to this story)

was altered online or rather part of the original document as you're citing it.

Randy said...

The disclaimer was at the bottom of the article when I first saw it. I didn't quite understand what you were asking earlier. Of course, my point is that the reporter did not add anything original to the reporting, but merely quoted the news release and the AP article verbatim, with no attribution except for the "AP contributed" note at the end.

Randy said...

The disclaimer was at the bottom of the article when I first saw it. I didn't quite understand what you were asking earlier. Of course, my point is that the reporter did not add anything original to the reporting, but merely quoted the news release and the AP article verbatim, with no attribution except for the "AP contributed" note at the end.