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The Globe doesn't like getting scooped

Especially not by, gasp, a blog. The local paper of record writes today (actually, for the second time) about the Obama-hating Congressional candidate who had to retract the Scott Brown endorsement, you know, the one he didn't actually get.

The brouhaha began Thursday, when Brown denied he had made an endorsement. That came as several political blogs cited news reports from the 2008 presidential campaign, when Hudak erected a poster on his lawn in Boxford that depicted Barack Obama as Osama Bin Laden.

Actually, as I bet the Globe knows, it was one single blog that broke the story (and continues to advance it). So what's the Globe have against Dan Kennedy? And if the story cites "several political blogs," would it have killed them to link to those blogs?

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Add this to the coverage that BMG's poll of the Senate race got.

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Their other favorite is "according to a local community newspaper."

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Greg, CNC/GateHouse hasn't always credited blogs, either. How many of your reporters and editors depend on Universal Hub or local blogs to find news or issues to cover, and then neglect to mention or credit where the lead comes from? Does GateHouse even have a policy about crediting or linking to local blogs?

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I can only speak for myself. I've been working for CNC off and on now for more than seven years first as a freelancer, then reporter in Belmont, editor in Winchester, and now, editor in Belmont. Rarely, if ever, have bloggers broken any stories before we have broken them. And yet it seems, every other week, we are reading our work re-done by staffers at the Globe - to the point of citing the same sources in the stories! Two weeks ago, they literally lifting things from comments on our Web site.

That said, this is the second time I've been to Universal Hub in my entire life. It seems like a nice aggregate but I don't see how it would break news over some, if not all, of our newspapers.

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Panera Bread, Lebanese restaurant look to open in West Roxbury.
Kells blames rap concerts in Allston for recent spate of violence

Yes, just two examples, but both were scoops. I will admit I've never broken a single news story in Belmont, though!

I'm not accusing GateHouse papers of pirating my stuff and I will agree they break lots of stories (and we seem to get along - I point to no small number of GateHouse stories and I've certainly seen UH credited on GateHouse sites). But the number of hyperlocal bloggers around here who go out and find their own news rather than simply linking to stories on MSM sites is growing, and MSM editors who ignore local bloggers (and people on Twitter) do so at their own peril.

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Tony,

Last year, two pieces of local news that I broke on my own blog showed up on Universal Hub (after I notified Adam) and then on CNC/GateHouse websites (and the Newton Tab in print) days later. One was credited and linked back to the source (ilamont.blogspot.com), the other did not:

Setti Warren dual signatures post (credited to source):

Me, August 3: http://ilamont.blogspot.com/2009/08/robots-and-pol...
UH, August 4: http://www.universalhub.com/node/26760
CNC, August 4: http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/x2015103727...

Community Magazines pulls the plug (not credited):
Me, Oct 27: http://ilamont.blogspot.com/2009/10/another-print-...
UH, Oct 27: http://www.universalhub.com/node/28580
CNC, Nov 3: http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/business/x9...

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Oh my goodness Ian: I hired Jon Brickman. Don't you think we might have known independtly that we hired him? What makes you so sure that we learned this from you?

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Greg, from my perspective, I saw repeat visits to the post from UH with IP addresses belonging to CNC. There's also the fact that the news showed up in the Tab and WickedLocal online on Nov 3, a week after my post on Oct 27. Obviously CNC had inside information about Brickman long before I got the letter, so why not write that story for the Oct 27 issue, or even earlier?

You also did not answer my earlier questions. How many of your reporters and editors depend on Universal Hub or local blogs to find news or issues to cover? You clearly read it, and sometimes leave comments. Do you ever shoot off an email to an editor or reporter with a link to UH, saying "follow up on this"? If so, does CNC/GateHouse have a policy (written or otherwise) governing how these sources should be credited and linked?

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Just posted: Food fight: Dunkin' Donuts sues franchisee over cafe his wife opened that serves breakfast and coffee. Involves a cafe in a neighborhood covered by GateHouse.

Again, not trying to dis the good work done by GateHouse reporters and editors, or to launch into one of those MSM-is-dead-dead-I-tell-you rants (anybody who's heard me speak at journo-type conferences will know I always say we need professional journalists), but to reiterate that bloggers can and do break news.

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I'm sure that the reporter who wrote this would blame the antiquated content management system or some other reason for not including the links, but it's a convenient excuse that hides the fact that the Globe and many other outlets don't like to admit that they depend on UH and other blogs to find news to report.

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You can find references on the web to the Globe deploying a new content management system within the last 10 years.

http://www.colepapers.net/tcp.archive/Cole_Papers_...

Its not like they didn't know about the web when they built it. On the other hand, I think the inability for newspaper articles to pass links onto boston.com was short sightedness and not an editorial decision. (and I also think it is possible that the cost of a project to being their less than 10 year old CMS into the 21st century would essentially kill the company.)

The "several political blogs" or "a local community newspaper" comments seem editorial decisions. Jeff Jacoby seems to be able to link if he wants to.

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... they credited SOMETHING instead of passing it off as their own. Just glad to see it getting mainstream coverage.

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Ask any reporter of "a local TV station" or "a local radio station" if they've ever been improperly credited with a story they developed. Then again, how many of these TV or radio stations ever acknowledge how much of their news content is rewritten out of the Globe or the Herald?

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But since blogs are the shining future and the MSM is irrelevant, this doesn't matter anyway, right? Or is the MSM still crucial to the egos of the very bloggers who snap at it?

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Who says MSM is irrelevant? Not me. Ask anybody who's ever heard me talk about the topic.

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Don't know any serious person who thinks the mainstream media are dead and will be replaced by blogland. One of the most valuable functions performed by blogs is scrutinizing the media.

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I'm no Rummy thinking you have to go to press with the MSM you have, not with the MSM you want. While I'm confident journalism will survive, that doesn't necessarily mean [fill in your more destested MSM outlet] will provide it. We are seeing the development of new media outlets that have no ties to the old; the [Fill in detested MSM outlet] has no guarantees of survival.

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I would like to think that good journalistic practice is to credit your sources whomever they are, though I think there is enough gray area to allow people on both sides of the blogosphere-MSM fence to talk past one another.

I think the tendency of the blogosphere is to look at the almighty time stamp as proof of a "scoop," and I guess in a sense it is. However, it does not then necessarily follow that a MSM story on the same or related subject drew upon the blog as a source. The MSM outfit may have been independently mining the same sources for the same story and just not been ready to go with it until after the blog. To use an extreme example, I don't think the L.A. Times was duty bound to credit TMZ for declaring Michael Jackson dead first -- not when it was independently contacting its own family and medical sources. It all comes down to a good-faith representation of the degree to which you relied upon the blog to get your material.

With all due respect, Ian, your Community Magazines example seems to be a particularly poor example of an MSM operation stealing your stuff. This is GateHouse's OWN EMPLOYEE, after all. We GateHouse editors and reporters may be clueless about a lot of things, but at least give us credit for being able to figure out who our own company has hired, and what his or her background is. It's pure speculation on my part, but I would suspect that the explanation of the lag time between your post and GateHouse's story could be as simple as the news staff of the Newton Tab having had more compelling subjects to write about than to do a self-promotional piece about a new magazine ad-sales chief.

I hope, anyway, that, whatever side of the fence we are on, we are generally doing what we do to inform, educate or entertain our readers. In the process of doing that, we should have enough respect for one another's work to give credit where credit is due (and I am glad Adam is calling attention to the Boston Globe's falling short of doing that in Dan Kennedy's case). But it also strikes me that Dan's reaction to not being given proper credit by the Globe -- bemusement, perhaps, but not moral outrage -- is appropriate. It speaks to the fact that Dan places a higher priority on telling important stories than achieving personal glory. This, it would seem to me, is the proper approach for journalists of all stripe, "citizen" or otherwise.

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Kris:

Thanks for your long response. But I take issue with a few things you said:

It seems disingenuous to attack my "particularly poor" example, and then turn around and admit that you're engaging in "pure speculation" about what actually happened. What if you're wrong? As a GateHouse editor, can't you at least check to see how your colleagues in the GH News Service and the Tab came up with the idea to write a story about this topic?

Further, if a "self-promotional piece about a new magazine ad-sales chief" is not a compelling subject one week, how could it possibly be even more compelling a week later, and show up in the first section of the paper, no less? Or do the normal rules governing old, self-promotional news not apply?

Lastly, like you, I am all for informing, educating, and entertaining readers. But in the many years I have been blogging (mostly about technology, not local issues) I have observed a pattern in the behavior of the legacy 20th century news monopolies toward independent blogs. MSM outlets have never liked acknowledging the competition, and I believe that attitude has bled over to treatment of independent or upstart online sources, including blogs, forum discussions, and twitter feeds.

Most bloggers cited on UH who write about local issues credit or link back to the source of MSM news or commentary, but that is not always reciprocated, as Adam demonstrated when he started this thread. GH and the Tab are usually good about giving credit to online sources, and I've been a beneficiary of that, as I pointed out with my other example about Setti Warren. But I am not convinced that GH is consistent, which is why I responded to Greg's original complaint about the Globe not crediting GH publications by name. I think asking whether there is a policy in place is a legitimate question for Greg and other GH staff, and I hope one of you can provide an answer.

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Ian: Let me be perfectly clear: I hired Jon Brickman. I did not find out from your blog that I hired him. Somehow I knew that I hired him long before you "broke" the news to me on your blog.

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Greg: I never said that you did.

You still haven't answered the policy questions, so I'll post them here again:

1) How many of your reporters and editors depend on Universal Hub or local blogs to find news or issues to cover?

2) Does CNC/GateHouse have a policy (written or otherwise) governing how these sources should be credited and linked?

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I can't speak for all of our journalists in GateHouse Media New England, but I think UHub is the cat's pajamas. By far, the best damn aggregation site in Boston. I check it early and often and I know many of my colleagues do as well. We also read many other blogs, follow Twitter, etc.

The goal and our policy is to always give credit and to link. Can I say it happens 100 percent of the time? No. But that's the policy. If it is ever called to our attention (and determined to be a fair request) we will go back and link.

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Greg:

If that policy has been communicated to all of the writers and editors at GateHouse, and they're following it, that's great. Even better if the other print and broadcast outlets in Boston make the same pledge, and honor it.

Just curious: What's the second-best aggregation site in Boston?

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Example of CNC/GateHouse not crediting blog source
By Ian Lamont [...]Community Magazines pulls the plug (not credited): Me, Oct 27: http://ilamont.blogspot.com/2009/10/another-print-...

I think I'm not alone in reading that as you being whiny because you thought CNC didn't credit you for your blog entry about them hiring an employee.

No one owes you a reference, credit, linkback, blowjob, handshake, free cup of coffee, thank you card, phone call, text message, email, pity fuck, or anything else, unless they used your blog post in some fashion. It is a COURTESY to give a linkback if your post 'got the ball rolling' for someone else's coverage. Clearly that is not the case if it's an internal matter to the newspaper itself.

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Brett:

Thanks for the 100-word lesson on blog-linking etiquette. In sailor-speak, no less!

Next time, though, please carefully read what people are saying before attempting a savage put-down. CNC/GateHouse (organization) ? Greg R. (person).

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Food fight! Food fight!

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Peter Abraham credits the Herald in a blog post for getting the scoop on whether Curt Schilling is eying a baseball comeback (he isn't). But he couldn't figure out how to link to John Tomase's blog post with the scoop. Or refused to. Or was ordered not to.

Which is a shame on several levels, not least because if you don't normally read Tomase's blog but wanted to find out more about the Mouth of Medfield, and you typed "Curt Schilling" into the Herald's search engine, you got the headline - with a link that didn't work.

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A good reason why MSM and others might not want to link to a blog is the completely transient nature of some websites/content. Try going 3 months back on some websites to see if their deep links work any more to any of the websites that they link to. It's often a minefield of dead links. MSM isn't going to go back and continually update when their linked articles move around on them...so instead they don't link at all.

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So no linking. But would it kill the MSM to say "Dan Kennedy, professor at Nportheastern University, broke this story on his Media Nation blog"? There's enough info there to google Kennedy and Media Nation if you want to find the blog, and it gives credit where credit is due, but leaves no dead link.

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I'd buy that argument except for a couple of interrelated issues.

They do think to other sites and articles on those sites (Jeff Jacoby has some of the most notable articles with links, some of them relatively obscure http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinio... links to http://danielpipes.org) they'll even link to sites that they are reporting won't exist until later (like the nbcboston.com reference in http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles...)

Boston.com does delete their own articles from the site, (compare http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/art... vs http://web.archive.org/web/20050110090525/http://w... for a simple example) some sections of the site disappear in a week or so.

If their concern with deep links from less reputable web sites disappearing, I would think they would want to distance themselves from the practice.

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The Globe's content management system autolinks stuff ending in .com, which every once in awhile leads to some fun.

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They also do .org, .net, .gov and a maybe a few others. (I don't remember, it may have .ca and .uk, but not the entire ISO country code list.) It also doesn't have to end with it. If a "word" contains it followed by other URL-ish characters like letters, numbers, slashes, "~", "?", etc. (so it can link to a page, rather than just the homepage of a site.)

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