Reader Comment Of The Week: A Reporter From The New York Post Speaks!

September 3, 2009 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

GYMRAT

I suspected I’d get a response from someone from the New York Post after I wrote this screed. I did. It was much more reasoned, lucid and intelligible than this one. I was pleasantly surprised, but found it disquieting nonetheless.

CommentNYS

Although you can read this comment in its entirety by clicking on the above image or by clicking here (see comments). I will post it here:

Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

I won’t discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I’ll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don’t credit.

You will find that the Daily News observes the same policy, but the Times does not. (They often write an explanatory phrase like, ‘The investigation into Mr. Spitzer was first reported in the New York Post.’ That’s not a real one. I just made it up. Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog, presenting them with an unresolvable conflict between two inflexible rules.)

Looking forward to “amplifying” more of your good work in the future.

Alex

Gee, thanks… I think. It is not the purpose to malign Mr. Ginsberg in this post (though it invariably will). Rather, I found his comment telling about the state of print journalism in general:

1. Not citing blogs is “company policy”. As Ginsberg wrote: You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).

2. Ginsberg writes¬† …Although I would note that another Times policy would prevent them from actually printing the name of your blog…

I have erected a mirror site with a much less objectionable url (www.thatgreenpointblog) for just this reason. Yet the plagiarism persists. It has become all too clear that “offensive” blog urls are a red herring.

3. Looking forward to amplifying more of your good work in the future.

So this somehow makes it “right”? Inasmuch as I riff on recent journalism school graduates (which are what staffs many of the papers here— as “independent contractors”— nowadays) I do not think they are by and large dishonest. They need to eat and have a roof over their head just like the rest of us— so they abide by “company policy”.

I do not blame them for doing what they have to do to earn a living; I blame the institutions which employ them. As contractors, these reporters are paid chump change for stories and thus have to churn out a lot of material (usually for numerous publications) in order to make ends meet. Given the workload they shoulder I am hardly surprised they troll blogs for leads. What bothers me is the fact their employers are profiting from their, my and many others hard work.

There was a time when New York City had “beat” reporters. They have since been replaced by contractors— to cut costs— and neighborhood coverage has suffered as a result. “Bloggers” as you call them— I prefer to call them citizen journalists— have made up for this, among them:

Amusing The Zillion
Atlantic Yards Report
Bed-Stuy Banana
Bed-Stuy Blog

Best View In Brooklyn

I care not to recite the whole list in its entirety— much less alphabetically. They can be found on my blog roll— although I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention Sheepshead Bites or my friends in the East Village:

Vanishing New York
EV Grieve
Neither More Nor Less

And last, but not least: Queens Crap.

If my memory serves me correctly the latter four have been “amplified” by the New York Post and the New York Times recently. Much to their respective chagrins. Call us ungrateful, but we’re not content with being “amplified”; we want recognition for our work.

The sad thing is in the absence of neighborhood reporters bloggers and newspapers could forge a mutually beneficial relationship, e.g.; exchanging leads, tips, information and so forth for the betterment and edification of our mutual readerships. I do not see this happening— especially since a reporter from the New York Post has pretty much admitted to cribbing my content and “making a few phone calls” to write a story.

A story he was, no doubt, paid for writing. I wasn’t. Very few “bloggers” are.

Miss Heather

P.S.: You can read an email string between Mr. Ginsberg and someone who took issue with his plagiarism by clicking here.

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