In a letter to Jim Romenesko, Sacramento reporter George Warren takes CBS-owned WCBS to task for “blatant, bald-faced plagiarism … alive and well in America’s number one media market.” Warren, a reporter at ABC affiliate KXTV, writes:
Sure, I’m flattered that WCBS liked my [lightning strike] story enough to have weatherman Lonnie Quinn re-track it WORD-FOR-WORD. But what the hell?
I’m assuming the CBS flagship station in New York City got my story from CNN, which got the story from my station in Sacramento — and then the weather guy simply replaced my narration with his own. WCBS presented the story as its own original work on air and online with no mention that the story actually came to them from another local TV station in California.
Yahoo News then posted the story from WCBS and racked up nearly 400,000 hits in the first two days. The New York Daily News did the same thing. This robs my TV station of proper credit and the revenue we derive from “clicks.”
I’m told by my station management that our contract with CNN allows other stations to use our content as their own. Obviously WCBS took this authorization to the extreme. It may be permitted, but any journalist knows that it’s wrong.
Romenesko has links to both stories for comparison purposes.