Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Washington Post Steals My Armadillo Story

BurglarTwo days after I posted about how global warming might bring armadillos to Virginia, the Washington Post's Post Local did the exact same story.

How do I know they stole the story? The Post calls it a "new" report, but that's not true - it came out in June. I started a post on it in June but never finished it, and it sat in my drafts file until I needed some new content & published it this week.

Bloggers are happy to share ideas and content for free - all we ask for is attribution, the same courtesy that paid journalists extend to each other when one breaks a story. And come on, considering The Washington Post Company pulled down $547 million in operating income last year, while The Green Miles does this in his spare time for free (refusing paid ads), would a courtesy link be too much to ask? Apparently so.

I wouldn't publicly point it out, except the Post steals from local blogs all the time. Just last month, the Post-owned Fairfax Times stole a quote from without attribution. Isn't it silly for an enormous media conglomerate to have a policy of stealing from the little guy, especially when doing the right thing is so easy?

And how's this for hypocrisy? The Post has expressed outrage when blogs excerpt the Post's work, even WITH full credit & links back. Gawker's Gabriel Snyder fired back an epic rebuttal.

It doesn't have to be this way. NBC4's has used my posts for story ideas several times (including the armadillo story) and always cites my original post with a quick link back. Everybody's happy!

I emailed the Post this morning asking why they didn't provide a link. From what I've heard from other bloggers who've had their work taken by the Post without attribution, I'm not expecting to hear back, but will update this post if I do.

Creative Commons-licensed photo via Flickr's PirateJohnny


mae said...

Wow. Washington Post really seems to have an attribution problem. See this recent Fishbowl DC article (see that wasn't hard):

or just search for the word "attribution" on the site and see all the WaPo spanks: said...

Oh, it's not just bloggers they steal from. I wrote a story under my "real" name for a website and a month later my local fishwrap did the SAME story. Even interviewed the same people.

But you know, it's the foul-mouthed bloggers who killed journalism. Just remember that!

Aimee Fausser said...

National Geographic now has a piece up:

Steve Offutt said...

Did you send a note to the ombudsman?

TheGreenMiles said...

I emailed PostLocal - no response.