This story has a sense of deja vu for me. It was two days ago that I wrote up the settlement of a lawsuit where the State of New York agreed to pay $1.2M for a prison death. Then today, 48 hours later, the Daily News runs the same story and calls it an “Exclusive.” Some Exclusive.
The rip-off writer is Daily News staffer Rich Schapiro ([email protected]).
I knew I’d seen this act before, so I went into my archives and, sure enough, it was the Daily News that also ripped me off in June 2010, when I published some documents related to the September 11 litigation. I was a little concerned back then that I would sound petty in my complaint, until I found out it was a recurring problem in the media. (See: How the Mainstream Media Stole Our News Story Without Credit, by Danny Sullivan)
If this happened twice to me in 16 months, for this modest little blog, then the question to ask is: How often is the Daily News ripping off stories from others? Is it just me? Unlikely.
So, while it may sound petty to complain, I think it is the type of conduct that needs to be documented and the writers and media groups held accountable.
Update 10/27 – I received a call from Mr. Schapiro who, as you might guess, wasn’t happy about being called a “rip-off writer.” He claims that he didn’t put the word “Exclusive” on the headline. Two things worth noting: First, when he did an interview for the story, he’d been told that a lawyer had blogged about it. (He said he hadn’t read it.) Second, while Brandon Jackson is a common name, if you do a Google search confined to the past week my story pops up on the first page. So it was easy to find. Was rip-off too strong an opinion? Hard to say. But there was, at a bare minimum, sloppiness.
He also wanted to give me tips on how to be a better newsman and have a better blog. I withheld comment on that. He also said I should have called him before publishing. (He’s probably right on that part.)
Last thing: I should have also given a link to the piece about the New York Times taking my story on Sonia Sotomayor two years ago, as it also deals with the mainstream media taking items they find on blogs and treating them as their own. The story provoked comment from the White House regarding the ethical issues that I had raised. Here it is: NYT: “Sotomayor & Associates” Becomes an Issue For Nominee and White House