Thursday, January 29, 2009

Times On-Line flunks journalism 101

I don't know whether to be flattered or furious.

I feel flattered because I was quoted yesterday, quite extensively I might add, in a story entitled Danger online: Perils of revealing every intimate moment published in the Times On-Line, the Internet version of the venerable UK newspaper.

But I feel furious because I was never interviewed for the story and had no idea I even appeared in the story until my daily Google Alert for Don Mills Diva lead me there.

The published quotes, which are attributed to me, are lifted from an interview I gave to a Canadian newspaper in April of 2008 and from two blog posts I wrote around that time: one on the dangers of becoming addicted to blogging and one which was a response to the nasty on-line comments to the Globe article.

Neither the newspaper - the Globe and Mail - nor this site are attributed as sources.

Further, it appears the article is an excerpt from a forthcoming book on social media authored by one of the reporters.

Ironic, wouldn't you agree, that the author purports to explore boundaries surrounding the publication of on-line material while failing to observe any?

I have sent an e-mail to the Times On-line editor outlining my concerns and asking whether this is standard journalistic practise at that publication. I have contacted the Globe reporter, who mused about whether she would be credited in the book's footnotes.

I'm betting not.

I'm betting not because I think this is a clear example of the kind of shoddy and misleading journalism that the mainstream media is continually accusing bloggers of practicing. I also think it's highly unethical, though admittedly not actually illegal.

I know it's disrespectful.

And that's why I'm feeling just a little more furious than flattered.

Stay tuned.

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52 comments:

Nowheymama said...

OH! The nerve!

OHmommy said...

I agree. It is disrespectful Kelly and you should have been notified.

Has the Times On-Line responded to your emails?

Mandy said...

As I twitter tweeted you last night, you have every right to be upset and every right to demand an explanation (at the very least) from the author and the editor.

Ellyn said...

Definitely staying tuned. I can't wait to see what their response is.

Michelle said...

That's awful. I hope that they correct the article and the book.

Pregnantly Plump said...

I can't believe the editors let her get away with that. You HAVE to source stuff. That's journalism 101 (I'm a former newsie.)
They need to go into the online version and provide sources, as well as print a retraction/apology in the paper.
I've never been in the book publishing world, but I can't imagine they would let her get away with that!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Rock on.

Well said.

And maybe check into your legal rights as the copyright holder of that work.

Magpie said...

OMG - that is appalling. But you will school them like you schooled the hamburger joint, and they will apologize.

Mr Lady said...

I'm really furious for you. I say we spread the word.

kbreints said...

It will be interesting to see how they respond!

kbreints said...

It will be interesting to see how they respond!

dawn224 said...

Will also be interesting to see if they have their own google alerts set up.

Headless Mom said...

Go get 'em!!!

Because of your (and other's) diligence in tackling these things head on, the rest of us can be here.

We've got your back!

Single Parent Dad said...

Becoming all too common here in the UK, one of the reasons I am channeling my writing towards a professional end, rather than, the growing unprofessional 'printed' journalism format.

I had actually followed a different link to that story today, and as I had blogged some personal details recently, I was quite interested. I have to say; I only managed about half of this particular piece, before I found it repeating itself, and not really making much of a point or conclusion.

Good luck with your complaint, and I think you should consider contacting the Press Complaints Commission

Melissa said...

I read the article last night when you twitted it...I have to admit I would be pretty furious, too.

I hope you get some response from the Online Times...or at least the author of the article.

mamatulip said...

I remember both of those posts. I was flabbergasted when I read about this on Twitter last night - please keep us updated.

Sass E-mum said...

That's so bad. I thought that's what they had sub-editors for - to check an article is genuine and unique, not just spelt correctly.

I feel like I should apologise because it's a UK-paper. But hey - it's owned by Murdoch. I hereby pass my guilt on to a passing Australian...

I'm watching to see what response you get.

Tracey said...

I agree. WHY didn't they just contact you? Chances are, you would have agreed to some sort of release and been flattered instead of furious and ready to discredit them.

Haley-O said...

That's just awful. I'm so sorry and furious for you. ((hugs))

Stephanie said...

Are you sure it's not illegal? I'm curious to see how it's attributed in the book. Maybe it's just the lawyer in me but my immediate reaction is to shout cease and desist at my computer screen.

Vered - MomGrind said...

"this is a clear example of the kind of shoddy and misleading journalism that the mainstream media is continually accusing bloggers of practicing." I agree. i would be furious too.

LaskiGal said...

It is about courtesy and honesty . . . and both were violated.

Your anger is totally justified . . .

kittenpie said...

I would certainly expect that an editor would try to contact you or insist that the author did, at least to do you the courtesy of letting you know what they intended to use, if not for something as basic as fact-checking. Isn't that what editors are for, in part? To make sure that the newspaper won't get it's ass kicked over something in it?

Reluctant Housewife said...

Wow... That is so not okay. Let's make sure everyone knows about it.

Damselfly said...

Gasp! I can't believe that! How did the writer even get a job for a paper? I'd be mad too.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

This defnitely calls out for an outcry from the blogosphere. I'm much more offended by this than the Motrin ad? How does one mobilize the forces? By Twitter? You start it and I'm on board.

Kellan said...

I think they barked up the wrong mommy blogger - you go get 'em! If anyone can counter this - it's you and we are all behind anything you feel needs to be done!

Kellan

Vic said...

Am hereby boycotting the Times!
I'd definitely go to the PCC - as the others have said, they've picked on the wrong mommy blogger!

CableGirl said...

How infuriating!

Cheryl said...

It may be misleading for them to imply that they interviewed you, that your comments were for the article in question, but I'm not sure there are copyright issues. They attributed the comments to you (though yes, it would have been more appropriate to name your blog as well).

I wrote a research project on blogging, and my professor advised that I did not have to get permission to include quotes taken from blogs. I did have to cite my sources, but I did not have to ask permission (and universities have whole departments dealing with research ethics, so I think this carries some weight).

Blogrhet had a little bit on this (http://blogrhet.blogspot.com/2007/05/word-about-research-and-ethics.html).

Did they misquote you? Take your quotes out of context? If they made a mistake in interpreting our opinions, that's a big deal. And of course, if the comments are appearing in a book, there should be a proper citation. Magazine articles don't generally include citations, so it's not, in my opinion, as big an oversight there.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

You should be furious! Highly unprofessional and unethical behavior. Shame on them.

Chantal said...

You go girl, don't let this reporter get away with it!

Whitenoise said...

Interesting. I had this happen to me 11 years ago with a letter to the editor that was published in the Globe and Mail. Years later I googled and low and behold the letter showed up in its entirety within a published transit study, placing me in a position I hadn't intended.

Unfortunately, unless it's a case of slander or hatespeech -there's not a whole lot you can do if the piece falls under fair use. You put words out in public- people are gonna read them and then maybe repeat 'em.

Oz said...

Dude. That IS disrespectful, not to mention lazy journalism. Glad you're straightening this reporter out.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Unbelievable.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I still can't believe they consider this "journalism." Hopefully they will respond to you and set the record straight. I think you have every right to be mad!

newduck said...

Ouch! I would be pissed!

Trannyhead said...

Umm ... yeah... that totally sucks. I know a blogger who actually discovered that some website was SELLING her blog's content. Technically, they were selling a search engine service, but it certainly implied that they were selling her blog content. It's so shady. SHADY.

It also makes me wonder whether I should continue my google alerts or not. I mean - what exactly am I going to do with the knowledge when I have it?

Good luck.

flutter said...

I would be friggin livid, girl.

April said...

I agree, I would be furious as well.

JCK said...

This is outrageous. And unethical.

Mama Zen said...

I read the Times On Line article, and it's outrageous! It deliberately makes it appear as if you were interviewed for the piece. Totally unethical.

Sally said...

This happened to me several years ago; an interview by phone and ALL my words were miscontrued, and then someone who knew NOTHING about what happehed piped in not knowing ONE single thing she was talkin about. Outraeous to say the least. I wish you all the luck to straighten this out!! God bless!!

whymommy said...

Whoa! They should know to at least cite you and the other sources... Wild.

Sue said...
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Sue said...
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Holly said...

wow. all i can say is wow.

Jaina said...

That is not even close to okay. I hope they apologize and do the right thing. Though in this world, I may be holding my breath for a long time.

Working mum said...

Well done on your eloquent response to the article and the Times' journalist's behaviour. I'm disgusted at the Times' lack of journalism professionalism. That's the last of the decent UK papers gone bad. Just serves to prove that I am right in not reading the UK newspapers anymore. There's only the BBC left now .......

DARWEN REPORTER, Linda Preston said...

Sounds like a bit of lazy journalism to me. I'm sure you would have obliged if they'd have had the courtesy to ask.

Teena in Toronto said...

I just read the article. Interesting.

I must say that in the back of my mind I do think that some things I do will make for good blogging material as I'm doing them. But I don't see anything wrong with that. I see my blog as my online diary that I'm sharing with the world.

When I take pix that will be posted, I make sure everyone involved is okay with that ... if they aren't, I don't do it.

MissKris said...

Navigating around I came across this post and had to comment on it. Hopefully you get email notifications like I do so if someone comments on an old post I still get notified. Anyway, I was quoted in The Oregonian newspaper here in Portland. I don't get The Oregonian...in fact, it was a friend who contacted me to let me know my "quote" was in an article about Oregon bloggers. Of course, I had to look it up to see what I was quoted as saying...and it was accurate...it was from an email I'd sent to a newspaper columnist concerning blogs. Needless to say I was thrilled, ha! I'm sorry your experience wasn't as positive. I'm quite new to your blog and I think it's great. Who says these columnists even know what they're talking about?! I just write for my own pleasure and if people come by and read it, great. And if they don't, oh well. As long as I'M amused I could care less, HA!