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« Woodburn update | Main | JG chastises Kemmish of the Corporate Council »

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FTM

Newspapers can't stand to give simple bloggers credit.

Mitch Harper

Well, the point is not so much that newspapers won't give bloggers credit. As a rule newspapers don't credit other media sources. FWOb understands that.

What made this unusual was that Mr. Lengerich credited FWOb but the credit was yanked by an editor from the subsequent versions. That's worth talking about.

As for USA Today - that paper generally uses their Across the USA digest to feature one-paragraph squibs of Associated Press stories from around the nation. USA Today credits no one. FWOb wasn't expecting one from USA Today; however, I wanted to illustrate that the original reporting on FWOb was of a story that was considered interesting enough to receive national play.

Ryan Lengerich of the News-Sentinel is deserving of credit on reporting the original story about the auction. His news judgement of the original story was sound; the original story and the Steve Linsenmayer photos were picked up by the Associated Press.

Without his original story, few people would have even known about the auction. The State of Indiana and the contracted auctioneer did not do much to publicize it. Information on the auction wasn't available on the State of Indiana website, for example, and there was no paid auction notice in the Fort Wayne Newspapers, the Antique Trader, or other usual sources for auction information.

I ventured to the auction the day before it took place because I was interested as a bidder on some of the portraits. I wouldn't have been there without Mr. Lengerich's original report. (I have collected Indiana and political historical items since I was 12.) That's when I learned the portraits were not to be in the auction. The State was not taking any steps to inform prospective bidders the portraits were not going to be available.

The other reason about writing on the disappearing credit was the hook provided by Mr. Welsh at AdvanceIndiana.blogspot.com.

In the case Mr. Welsh wrote about, he alleged that Leslie Steadman Wiedenbrener of the Louisville Courier-Journal had obtained much of a story she wrote on real estate practices viewed by some authorities as anti-competitve in nature by "borrowing" liberally from the work of the Indiana Law Blog and Advance Indiana without credit or attribution.

She followed that with a column about the unreliability of blogs for news. Mr. Welsh's point was that newspapers ought not discount bloggers at the same time they are mining the blogs for news, interview sources and the like.

The Fort Wayne newspapers have done a fair job of writing about the Fort Wayne blogosphere. They just won't note those times when the weblogs produce original reporting that is used by print.

My point is that ought to change not for the sake of weblogs but for the sake of the future of the print newspaper. It would help restore trust in the newspapers reporting of local news.

Leo Morris gets it. Ryan Lengerich gets it. It would behoove editors to understand that in a rapidly changing information age.

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