The other day Register “reporter” Lou Ponsi put forth a story he read about on our blog first and presented it as his own to his handful of unsuspecting readers.
Apparently the idea that you can pilfer somebody else’s story and claim it as your own finds favor with Lou Ponsi’s “supervisor,” too. His name is Jim Radcliffe and below is his response to a complaint lodged by one of our readers.
See, according to Radcliffe if you “independently” verify someone else’s work then you’re in the clear to pretend that the story is yours. He notes that The Register stories get “picked up” all the time and that it is a compliment. No, Jim, even if true it’s swinish behavior, and just because you claim you don’t mind getting ripped off doesn’t men anybody else has to like having it happen to them.
Here is Radcliffe’s comical defense:
On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:56 AM, Jim Radcliffe ([email protected]) wrote:
I am Lou Ponsi’s editor. … He is a very good reporter and handled this story like a pro, under my supervision. … We did see it first on that blog. And I applaud that blog for learning about it first.
But, as is common among the better news organizations, he independently verified everything we used in our story, making numerous phone calls. We usually don’t credit the first news organization that has the story; the reader typically doesn’t care and just wants to know about the story itself.
We, at the Register, are constantly the first to break stories that other media then pick it up: TV and radio stations, the L.A. Times, The Associated Press, etc. We don’t mind at all, as it is actually a compliment. We do mind if the news organization does no original reporting to make the story “theirs” and doesn’t credit us. … If there is no original reporting, then the initial source should indeed be credited.
Lou didn’t steal anything. He confirmed the arrest was true and found out new things about the case.
I have worked for various news organizations, and this is the industry standard. If you have any additional concerns, please feel free to call me at 714-704-3761. … Again, I applaud that blog for keeping an eye on Fullerton, so long as the coverage is fair. … The more journalists keeping an eye on a community, the better for everyone. … Jim.
The Orange County Register
Ponsi found out “new things” about the case? No, he didn’t. He just found out that the officer in question had made some DUI arrests – a fact utterly irrelevant to the story and included by the “pro” no doubt to be “fair.” And of course he claims he made an unreturned phone call to somebody.
Please note too Radcliffe’s applause for FFFF (not in print, of course) – so long as the coverage is fair. Could it be that Radcliffe really believes that if a blog doesn’t meet his subjective definition of fairness he is not obligated to recognize its work product?
Finally, I have no idea what gives Mr. Radcliffe the idea that he is employed by one of “the better news organizations” but it certainly can’t be any discernible level of ethics.