Traditional Media Apply Traditional Ethics Sparingly With New Media


I see an interesting ethics situation developing… seems “traditional media” is trending to a habit of not properly crediting or acknowledging t…A Poynter Online story about a viral video situation caught my attention not so much for the content of the viral video situation (it’s a good one so be sure to check out the video that sparked all this), but for how the Wall Street Journal just kinda sorta skimmed over the origins of the situation (viral video) altogether and “discovered” the story with little, if any, credit to its viral-i-ness. Reminded me of some crediting, or lackthereof, issues we’ve had right here in the metro Atlanta blogosphere.

Whole situation here, but the graph that initially caught my attention:

On May 27, the (Wall Street) Journal reported on the Bell-Conyers confrontation and its sequel under the headline, “Detroit Politician Gets Lesson in Civility From 13-Year-Old.” The story by Katherine Rosman, in the bottom-page slot for what used to be known as column-three readers, is well-written and well-reported with such nuggets as that Keiara’s proud mom “sells candy in Detroit neighborhoods from the trunk of an old gray Cadillac.” The piece acknowledges the Detroit News but minmizes the cyber virus in favor of a peg on Keiara’s local celebrity.

My response/comment to the Poynter story titled: Local Video Story Makes WSJ Front Page, is pasted-over here:

I see an interesting ethics situation developing… seems “traditional media” is trending to a habit of not properly crediting or acknowledging the genesis of a story IF the story arises from the blogosphere and/or a viral video situation.

Two other examples of this in metro Atlanta recently: a citizen’s video of a young woman verbally assaulting an elderly woman on a commuter (MARTA) train in Atlanta went viral and was discussed extensively and with great passion on local, urban talk radio and in the Atlanta blogosphere for days before being “discovered” by Cox’s WSB-TV. Absolutely no credit was given to the one Atlanta blogger ( who broke plenty of news and info about the situation, now known as the “MARTA Soulja Girl” incident, for two days before local TV news got hold of it. WSB-TV took the weekend off; the blogger did not, and when WSB-TV did bother to report the story it was sloppy and imprecise in comparison to the blogger Sandra Rose.

Another local example of conveniently ignoring and never crediting the source of a story, a story that was national news eventually, was that of the Cobb County, Georgia restaurant owner who sold-out of tee-shirts depicting Obama as Curious George. A local Cobb County Daily Kos contributor brought this situation to media light, without so much as a single credit from ANY broadcast news outlet for having done so.

Shame on these TV “journalists.” It’s something akin to petty thievery. Obviously they are feeling threatened by the ability of news to now be generated, vetted, and disseminated entirely outside the palace walls.


3 responses »

  1. Sneaky bastards. Looks like we’ll have to make sure we have our blog bug in the corner of every video we ever upload for the entire running time.


  2. To be fair, I think a lot of traditional media doesn’t really discriminate when it comes to theft. How often do you see a local TV news channel cite the AP wire as the source for its stories? And yet, how often do they get their stories from just monitoring the wire?


  3. Typically, a source is cited, such as “From wire stories.” Not so much on broadcast news, of course. But the reality that news is being generated in a viral capacity seems to me as newsworthy in itself; that should be an ongoing part of the story: what made it go viral? How many people have viewed this video? What was the nature of some of the commenting? Why this particular piece of video?

    A viral situation is news in itself, and offers up a huge range of issues, as did the MARTA Soulja Girl video, such as the urban response, mental health care, public transportation… not just Crime with a capitol C. There’s a lot of great axillary stuff to be mined, and cited, by traditional media in a viral situation. Tons, and they’ve yet to explore those issues, let alone cite the, uh, viral-i-ness… in most cases. I imagine this will change as traditional journalism flexes and stretches and bends to accommodate new media trends and technologies. I imagine.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s