Boston Brewin’: Attribution Fight

By Kevin Eck 

Boston’s ABC affiliate WCVB and NBC affiliate WHDH are being accused of slighting the competition when it comes to picking up stories off the AP wire.

Fox affiliate WFXT covered a story about a Walpole man who was charged $48,000 for a tow. The AP wrote up a version of the story, citing WFXT. Stations around the U.S. then picked it up and ran it on their websites, keeping in the WFXT attribution. But WCVB and WHDH, did not. (At least not in the original story, below. WHDH has since updated to include the attribution). In a sloppy bit of web editing, the stations also forgot to amend a sentence in the last paragraph, which reads in part: “The Statewide Towing Association tells the station….”

WHDH screenshot


Here’s a version from WLUK in Green Bay, which includes the WFXT attribution.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.59.52 AM

While attribution is always the right thing to do, AP clients can rewrite stories to suit their audience, even leaving out attribution if they desire. But sometimes a tip of that hat can go a long way.