Friday, February 13, 2009

Kiwiblog and the credit crunch

Top blogger David Farrar is aggrieved that his superb scoop on Helen Clark and the no. 3 UN job was picked up by the Sunday Star-Times and run on the front page last week with no attribution to him:
. . . yesterday I broke the story of the NZ Govt supporting Helen Clark for the UNDP job. Today one Sunday paper has it as a front page story, and ever proclaims it to be an exclusive. Hello? Now sure it is possible the paper was working on the story anyway, but to call it an exclusive when it was broken the previous day? And today the radio is referring to the story as being broken by the newspaper, when it was not.
I happen to know that the SST was not working on the story at the time, because I alerted them to Farrar’s scoop about three minutes after he posted it, and it was news to them. They moved commendably fast to get the story in the next day’s paper. But was it an exclusive or not? David Cohen thinks it was:
In journalism, an exclusive usually refers to information provided to, or available from, only one news outlet. Anthony Hubbard’s story in the Star-Times was an exclusive, then, insofar as it officially confirmed the story for the first time.
And that confirmation is the crucial difference between blogging and journalism. Farrar’s post begins, “I have heard from a highly reliable source that. . .” So he reported hearsay. That is blogging. Hubbard rang the PM and got confirmation from him that the government was indeed supporting Clark’s application. That is journalism. And that is why it was fair enough for RNZ to credit the SST for breaking the story – even though Farrar’s sources are clearly the equal of any journalist’s, if not better, it wasn’t a solid, quotable story until Hubbard got Key to confirm it.

Elsewhere, veteran blogger Bruce Simpson commented:
I know that a lot of other bloggers read Aardvark so I’d be interested to hear from any who might be interested in forming an entity that can properly represent the rights of the blogging community when dealing with the MSM and their unethical ways.
Good luck with that. When you’re done, there are some cats here that need herding.

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