Props to the Blogosphere: Attribution in the MSM

mb logo.jpgGreg Lindsay has an interesting piece today on the MB homepage about how mainstream media does not always credit stories that break in the blogosphere.

Lindsay mentions sticky-fingers at the WSJ and FT, but this reminds me of the never-resolved issue of the NYT publishing an item that had previously appeared on the blog Mediacrity. Fishbowl wrote about it this summer, but here’s a recap: on June 26, 2005, Mediacrity sussed out and posted Jim Romenesko‘s 2003 salary ($152,163, plus $17,024 in benefits and deferred compensation), which garnered some attention, including from prominent bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Jeff Jarvis that same night. On July 3, 2005, the NYT ran a short bit by Ken Belson on Romenesko’s salary, mentioning Medaicrity but not crediting the blog with the story. Mediacrity complained to the NYT, and got a response telling him they needed a name before they would “consider running a correction.” Medaicrity took it to Barney Calame; Barney said, hey, our guy “independently obtained and confirmed” that information. Which would have been quite the coincidence.

You can read all about it here and here; but you can’t read about the resolution because there wasn’t any. Mediacrity refused to reveal his/her identity and no retraction was ever run (but, it’s never too late).

I pointed out at the time that Mediacrity was, er, “strident” – that blogger is definitely that plus all sorts of cranky, at least with respect to this issue. Should his/her lack of civility have the slightest bearing on whether attribution is given? Of course not.

A side note: funnily enough, the blogosphere is built on it’s own unique brand of footnoting, more ad-hoc but no less scrupulous for the sake of attribution: linking. If you can’t back it up, reader know and the vote with their mouses.

Credit where it’s due: online [MB]
The blogs leading the blogsMSM [FBNY]
Romenesko salary flap redux [FBNY]

Oh yes, what started it all:
Things You Might Have Missed If You Only Read Romenesko [FishbowlDC]