Broadcast News: Plagiarism at its Finest

Everyone keeps talking about the decline of print journalism and its impact on society. But what they really should be talking about and aren't is without newspapers to rip stories from, what in the world are broadcasters going to say? Blogger Brian Lowry

Shrinking print coverage threatens to trigger a "domino effect" as news operations downsize, feeding the strange Internet age conundrum where there's more information -- courtesy of blogs and the Web -- but less real news, especially as it pertains to backyard issues. ...

The thinness in assembling TV and radio news -- and the manner in which they use newspapers as de facto tip sheets and newsgathering surrogates -- has long been one of broadcasting's dirty little secrets.

Talkradio stations frequently employ a news person, which is really just a lonely gnome culling half-hour updates from the paper and wire. Newsradio generally exhibits the same overlap with whatever happens to be in print. (National broadcast and cable news mimic this process, albeit drawing more heavily from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and -- increasingly as they let their gossipy freak flags fly -- the New York Post.)

As a former daily writer, part of me, thinks of this as revenge for every time I heard a story I wrote read word for word on television with no attribution to me or my publication. Lowy elaborates:

Print journalists have long chafed at broadcast media pilfering their stories, often without bothering to credit the source. The seldom-mentioned practice went very public and nasty in 1999, when the Toledo Blade sued WSPD-AM in Ohio for "pirating" and "misappropriation" of stories. Then again, the Clear Channel station was hardly subtle, featuring a morning host whose motto was "I read the Blade so you don't have to."

The other part of me that values hard, breaking news, is very, very sad.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >