Friday, January 20, 2012

We're flattered, Gazette, but really ...

Posted By on Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. If so, the Gazette must really like us.

Over the years, they've rewritten many of our stories. Some the day after we printed them. Some as much as six months later. Recently, yours truly has been the subject of the Gazette's admiration.

A few weeks ago, they basically copied my story on free speech zones. This morning, they copied my story about Mayor Steve Bach's maneuvering with the budget (check out mine and theirs). They even pulled some of the same quotes out of an e-mail chain as I did.

For the record, neither of those stories were easy to get. There are stories that you'll see popping up in all sorts of news media. They come from press releases, regular reports, big happenings, emergencies and comments made in meetings. Those types of stories are fair game, and no media should be expected to credit another when they write about them.

But other stories take time and more careful investigation. They come from something that a reporter discovers while working his/her beat, then carefully teases out through further investigation.

Getting a story like that the first time is difficult. For instance, it was weeks from the time I first heard hints that the budget process might not be going quite as it appeared, to the time I got my story. In between was a lot of hard work. Of course, once the story's been written and the information is out in the public, it's pretty easy to follow someone else's breadcrumbs and rewrite it.

I don't mind if the Gazette wants to rewrite our stories. Not to brag, but I think they're worth copying. However, it's only right to give credit where credit is due. It's called being transparent, ethical and fair.

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