Gawker contemplates an incident in which the NY Times apparently stole a year-old story from the Wall Street Journal. But Gawker's explanation, if true, explains a lot about why blogs get acknowledgment only rarely when the papers run familiar-sounding stories.
According to Gawker, the Golden Rule is:
- Media outlets can only steal outright from other media outlets that are not their direct competitors, and do not fall in their same class.
Unfortunately, Gawker rules leave us with little recourse. For one, no Ohio media outlets acknowledge parity with even the mightiest blogs. For another, bloggers have little ability to impose the "penalties" for violation:
- Those who foolishly flout this rule by stealing the work of other reporters in their same class with no credit can expect to be ostracized at media parties; have vicious gossip about them leaked to Gawker; and, one day down the road, to be the subject of a gratuitous backhanded smear in the outlet that they stole from (this goes double if you're dealing with tabloids).
- Reporters are small people, and we never forget an insult. Play smart.