Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Cairns Post steals from CairnsBlog

On Sunday I wrote a story about Division 3 candidate Robert Pyne launching his campaign on CairnsBlog with YouTube.

Two days later, it appears in the Cairns Post! (see pic right)
Tremendous. The Cairns Post is reading CairnsBlog for their story ideas.
While I have no beef with the Post reporting this information, and it is tremendous that we all support independents in this Council election, I am very concerned that they didn't credit the source of the material.

I know they got the info from here as Robert supplied this exclusively to myself.

The reporter / journalist/ writer - I don't know what they call themselves when they can't dig out their own stories, was Sophia Browne.

"Launched today on CairnsBlog was Robert Pyne's YouTube campaign...", could have been one way of saying where the story was sourced from.

So I telephoned Sophia to ask why she didn't acknowledge the source of the story.

"We source material from many places. I got it from Robert, I telephoned him," said Sophia.

Well I know this wasn't true. In putting the story together, Sophia Browne telephoned Robert Pyne on Monday morning, and the first thing she said was "I saw you on the Blog and you're on YouTube..."

I also checked the site statistics and see that NewsLtd computers at the Cairns Post accessed CairnsBlog on Monday, several times, from IP address 165.69.2.249, and the story in question was read. Hardly much detective work required.

So this does not give the Cairns Post, nor anyone, the right to not acknowledge the source of their material.

My call to Sophia appeared to leave her stumped and she quickly concluded the telephone call - following a pregnant pause - with "I'll discuss this with Gavin [King, Chief of Staff] to check our policy".

I don't know if Gavin will give me a fair hearing on this one, following my criticism of his views from Saturday's Weekend Post. However, I credited (and linked) the source and debated the views that he presented. We both have opposing views on 'progress' and 'development', but that's okay.

I would like to say how disappointed I am in the response from Sophia Browne and the Cairns Post at this stage.

I thought every journo would be well aware that it is standard policy when using material sourced from another writer, to respectfully acknowledge where it came from, otherwise it's stealing, verging on plagiarism.

Sophia used phrases and words that were directly copied from my article on the blog.

Post editor Mark Alexander has supported my blogging efforts and allowed me ability to debate and identify articles from his newspaper, so long as credit is given, which I happily do. Of course I've written a great deal about a variety of subjects on CairnsBlog, some of which are sourced from the Cairns Post. On every occasion I not only credit, but also hyper-link to the newspaper's website. This is the appropriate professional way to act as an journalist, regardless of working for a big network like NewsLtd, or a small independent operator like myself.

You can bet ya bottom dollar if I was to lift a story from the Post and claim that it was 'mine', Editor Mark would have the NewsLtd legal eagles on my back before you could say "let's do another story about topless chicks and fat developers!"

Undertake a simple search on the Blog (in the search bar to the right) and look for "Cairns Post" and you'll see many links.

As I've put a great deal of resources and time into the CairnsBlog, when I see copy and leads clearly being lifted, without credit, I am concerned.

I would hope that we can both operate in this town with mutual respect for each other's contribution. There is space for both of forums, even though the Cairns Post may not understand the wealth of following independent online Blogs have in local campaigns.

I don't have the mighty resources like NewsLtd, basic honesty and respect should prevail. It's reasonably obvious there is a solid and growing following for such independent forums, with more than 1,500 unique hits a day on this site and sometimes 3,500+ page (story) views.

Like any author, be it of music, writing, painting, video, I too need to protect my intellectual property.

I would hope that the Cairns Post will print an apology and acknowledge the source of the story about Robert Pyne was from CairnsBlog. I'll keep you [Cairns]posted.

4 comments:

ian said...

yeah, also 4CA,SeaFM, HotFM and 4AM ran stories on Pyne's blog in there local news bulletins, also with no cred given.

Anonymous said...

Like I have said before, very little in the way of original thoughts or stories come out of the one rag we have in this town.

Anonymous (I think) said...

Quote: I also checked the site statistics and see that NewsLtd computers at the Cairns Post accessed CairnsBlog on Monday, several times, from IP address 165.69.2.249, and the story in question was read. Hardly much detective work required


So you monitor who looks at your site and then publish their details?
And you call the State Government Big Brother in your other stories?
All a bit 1984 isnt it?

Coco said...

How naive you are. Rob used a PUBLIC video sharing service to launch his campaign, so how do you expect to retain any right to exclusivity? That's just moronic. Did the Cairns Post lift any quotes directly from your article? No - they simply reported on the same event you did, which does NOT constitute theft of your intellectual property.