Letter to Romenesko
From GEORGE WARREN, reporter for KXTV News10 Sacramento: Blatant, bald-faced plagiarism is alive and well in America’s number one media market.
Sure, I’m flattered that WCBS liked my [lightning strike] story enough to have weatherman Lonnie Quinn re-track it WORD-FOR-WORD. But what the hell?
I’m assuming the CBS flagship station in New York City got my story from CNN, which got the story from my station in Sacramento — and then the weather guy simply replaced my narration with his own.
WCBS presented the story as its own original work on air and online with no mention that the story actually came to them from another local TV station in California.
Yahoo News then posted the story from WCBS and racked up nearly 400,000 hits in the first two days. The New York Daily News did the same thing.
This robs my TV station of proper credit and the revenue we derive from “clicks.”
I’m told by my station management that our contract with CNN allows other stations to use our content as their own. Obviously WCBS took this authorization to the extreme.
It may be permitted, but any journalist knows that it’s wrong.
Someone argued to me that newspapers do this all the time with copy they get from AP. Yes, they do. NBut they don’t put their reporter’s byline above it.
I write this not as a representative of my company, but as an individual journalist who wants to call attention to this practice.
Quinn and WCBS have not responded to my requests for comment, sent this morning. What do you say, broadcast journalists? Does Warren have a legitimate gripe, or is this standard operating procedure in your business?