August 26, 2003
Journalist = bad blogger?

Journalist John Rasmussen of the Norwegian internet (and paper) newspaper Dagbladet was writing an article series about the new Norwegian machine-readable passports in the beginning of August. To help him further, and to cast some light on the future of this technology, I sent him some URLs and information about the Bio-RFID project in an email on August 7th.

Today, the inevitable follow-up article on his stories (which had no mention of this development in the past) is the main headline on the Dagbladet electronic frontpage: Dagbladet.no: Innfører biopass

Unlike what we've come to expect in the "weblogging world", the journalist offered no links back to my site, not even an email to acknowledge the information I gave him...

Do "real" journalists have less netiquette than webloggers, or is this just business as usual?

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In a word: Yes.

When I was working in the media business I worked for a radio station that did a lot of hard work digging up news for the local area it covered. Many a times we heard the same stories on NRK Østlandssendingen (the state run local radio broadcaster) without due credit to us.

When confronted with the fact that they were stealing stories from us, they said that they had done some research themselves (apperantly, one phone call) and that was enough to not warrent crediting us with the story.

This is common in media, at least in Norway. Unfortunatly if you ask me.

Posted by: Jarle on August 26, 2003 11:36 AM

Do "real" journalists have less netiquette than webloggers - yes.
...or is this just business as usual? - yes.

Posted by: Heiko Hebig on August 26, 2003 03:34 PM

As a career journalist, I can say that most journalists I know lack even rudimentary online awareness, not to mention netiquette. So yeah, it's business as usual. Then again, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, such as those who cover primarily tech (such as myself). Even so, it is customary (one might say it's a matter of common decency) to cite sources for a story.

Posted by: Robert on August 28, 2003 10:24 AM

Do "real" journalists have less netiquette than webloggers, or is this just business as usual?

It's business of course. Journalists get paid for the crap they write, so they feel they're better than you because you're an "amateur" and they're "professionals". Furthermore, the source of information is totally irrelevant to them as long as there's their name on the article.

Posted by: Popea Merpero on August 30, 2003 12:20 PM

Did you ask him to credit you as a source or did you just give him a tip? Sometimes I send an email to som of my favorite journalists who I think might be interested in a particular subject. When I do som I don't expect them to credit me and they don't expect me to want to be credited.

Posted by: Bård Standal on September 7, 2003 01:14 PM

Yeah. Business as usual. Dagbladet did a long piece about weblogging a few months back and the journalist seemed to start his research by talking with me - for nearly an hour. He knew hardly anything and I led him gently through the field, suggested weblogs he should look at and then sent him URLs by email. In the final article of course none of this was acknowledged, though I suppose I shoudl be glad that they put in a half-sentence quote from me with the most frivolous thing I said in that whole hour. Same thing with Bergens Tidende when they wrote about weblogs - an hour talking with me, I found them a weblogger in Begren they could interview, and the interview with me wasn't printed and I wasn't credited, not even for the "fact box" that I'd practically written. That may not have been the journalist's fault. Journalists love to blame "desken", the editors, of course.

I don't think I'll bother to spend an hour explaining something next time a journalist rings, though.

Posted by: Jill on September 15, 2003 09:48 PM

Dear Anders

I accidentily came over your weblog today, and I know it is a bit late to respond. However, I feel I must point out the following:

After I published the first report on the new passports, my inbox was swamped with e-mails. Including yours, apparently. Thus, I never read half of them. Including yours.

It's strange to think that you consider yourself the only one with information about the biometric passports. It may be so that netiquette for journalists is worse than for your average blogger, but at Dagbladet.no we strive to show our sources.

I can assure you, that if I had used any of hte information you sent me, I would have linked to your website. And the strangest thing of all, is that you never contacted me, asking if I had used your information, before you ridiculed my name on your weblog.

I don't know if common decency is something bloggers lack. I choose to think not.

John Rasmussen
Journalist, Dagbladet.no

Posted by: John Rasmussen on May 5, 2004 03:44 PM

John,

I appreciate your comments and clarification about the issue. I wrote about the preception I had at the time and I apologize if my understanding of the situation was skewed in your disfavour.

I happy to see that I was wrong and that you got tipped off elsewhere (too bad that you didn't have the time to read the remaining emails as I am sure a lot of people contributed interesting and valuable information to you... )

I do appreciate dagbladet.no as a news source and wish you the very best of luck for the future.

Kind regards,
Anders

Posted by: Anders on May 5, 2004 07:05 PM
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