|Photo by Tina Fineberg for the Associated Press|
"I'm a reporter with the Associated Press here in NYC. I'm working on a story about the small group of Occupy folks who have been living in various churches since the Zuccotti eviction. I was intrigued by your recent blog post on the subject and was hoping you might be willing to be interviewed for my story." - AP Writer
And so the story begins - or actually, my story began on December 6 last year with the title: Out Of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: The Nomadic Life of an #OWS Occupier Sans Occupation, published on this blog, while this week the Associated Press published their version of a very similar story with the title: After Encampment Ends, NYC Occupiers Become Nomads. Of course any similarity between the two titles and stories is purely coincidental, right? Well, not right actually. Wrong actually.
In cases such as this, and especially because the writer specifically referenced this blog in her introductory letter to me, and subsequently interviewed me, the proper journalistic protocol would be to give an attribution in her story to my story or to this blog, thereby giving credit where credit is due.
Quoting me and having my title referred to as "Unemployed former advertising executive" is not exactly proper attribution. Citing my writing and blog would have been acceptable attribution since both stories use the concept of "Nomads", cover the same subject and my story appeared first. In his book News Reporting and Writing, journalism professor Melvin Mencher states: "Any time the information in your story comes from a source, and not from your firsthand observations, it should be attributed." In our case, the stories are indeed different, but the concept of nomads and general story concept initially came from this blog in relation to the same subject matter so it should have been attributed.
I have contacted the writer but have yet to hear back and I'll pursue as much as possible with AP direct. I'll be interested to see how they handle it, but I hate to see people being paid for doing things I've already done and not being properly attributed. It would also be nice to get paid one day for the writing I do.