Bloggers need to respect old media

Updated 3:17 p.m. April 23, 2009

I was in Baltimore this weekend, which is fitting, considering some of the news that came out of the Charm City last week.

From Wired magazine blog Epicenter:

The Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun issued Jeff Quiton of Inside Charm City a cease-and-desist letter claiming that Quinton has been republishing “substantial portions” of The Sun’s content, and because the infringement was willful, Quinton could face up to $150,000 per violation in addition to lawyers fees.

The Sun took issue with Quiton copying large portions of their stories, though the suit added they don’t have a problem with a headline and a graf being used by bloggers if links are included.

It’s another case of old media taking on new media. And I am completely on the side of old media on this one.

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What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop

Update: 7:40 p.m. on April 23, 2009: The involved officer was suspended with intent to dismiss. That news also came from the Inquirer and Daily News.

Update: 10:12 p.m. on May 6, 2009: Ms. McDonald was the feature of a cover story in the Northeast Times.

The attention has probably subsided enough to write this now.

Shannon McDonald, whom I’ve known for nearly two years, got a round of 15 minutes of fame she didn’t quite want.

On March 31, the Philadelphia Daily News ran a story on the growing ire of a group of the city’s black cops.

The controversy surrounded around a single officer, and, it seems, Shannon started it all.

At least a month before, the 21-year-old senior Temple University journalism student had to write a feature story for a class. So, thinking a cop-ride-along would be a simple, strong and fast assignment for a class she’s eager to finish, Shannon contacted the 22nd Philadelphia police district, which covers her assigned Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.

Then she wrote, as would surprise no one who knows her, a tidy, professional 900-word profile on Bill Thrasher, the officer with whom she rode. That was in February. It was a school assignment.

I spoke to her after the ride along.

“How was it?” I asked.

“OK,” she said, in a way that makes me certain she neither expected nor wanted any attention for the story.

It took a month for her expectations to be proven shortsighted.

Continue reading What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop

Attribution is not dead if we don’t let it die

I got a tweet from my buddy and Reading Eagle designer Chris Reber a few weeks ago.

is attribution dead?

That came not long after, Vince Fumo, the embattled Pennsylvania state senator and legendary South Philly politician, was convicted on all 137 counts in his federal corruption trial.

In what was another great stand for an old friend, the Inquirer was all over the Fumo case (not long after another evergreen package on the city’s Please Touch Museum, which won it a national headliner award.

Beyond collecting all the Fumo history and details and using social media, reporter Bob Moran live blogged the March 16 pronouncement of guilt. Fox29 hack Steve Keeley thought the Inqy was doing such a good job that Keeley began reading Moran’s reports live on air, without attributing him or the Inqy.


A minor outrage followed, not the least led by Inqy freelancer Amy Quinn, who tweeted again and again and again on the subject. But what else is there to learn, in an age where some say attribution is falling to the wayside?

Continue reading Attribution is not dead if we don’t let it die

The four reasons for a freelancer to decide to write a story

I recently posted on the reasons why I love freelancing. Once you know you want the gig, it also helps to know what you’re willing to do.

There are four big reasons to agree to write a story, and every writer should know them – if only so he can decide if that writing gig, even if it’s on the side, is worth it.

They’re worth recognizing, see them below. Continue reading The four reasons for a freelancer to decide to write a story

Learn to e-mail better

How well do you e-mail?

A few weeks ago I came across a simple, intuitive but worthwhile post on Seth Godin’s blog – an e-mail checklist.

I send lots of e-mails. In searching for a new job, in looking for interviews, in sending pitches for freelance stories.

So, I am immediately incorporating a few of Godin’s points into my style and thought they might help you, too – regardless of profession. I have some thoughts myself.

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Journalists are victors of the moment

Perhaps more than any other profession, journalists live in moments, that hour’s story, that day’s deadline.

Zack Stalberg was made a legend for his Frank Rizzo moment. As a 2001 Philadelphia Weekly profile suggested:

Within two years the night rewrite kid is a City Hall reporter covering Frank Rizzo at a time when Rizzo was, as Stalberg recalls, “unstoppable … He was going to be governor and his image was untarnished and then–boom!” Boom, of course, was Stalberg himself, who persuaded the mayor to take a lie detector test to resolve a political dispute. Rizzo, as the whole city knows, failed the test in grand fashion, and Stalberg, as the whole city also knows, became someone who would make a name for himself. [Source]

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Journalism Tool box: What every young journalist needs

As a young, aspiring journalist, I want to know what it is I need to have, what I need to know and what I need to learn. I’ve spoken to some friends, colleagues and with a few professional internships in my past, I think I am ready to fill the vaccum. What needs to be in every young journalist’s tool box?

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