About a week ago I published an article on this site with regards to a ‘story’ appearing in the national press regarding local councillor Jodie Jones having photos on Facebook of her (shock horror) actually drinking alcohol.
I’d originally planned for the article to go on the ConnectCannock site, but decided it wasn’t really ‘news’. The original article had been a cheap excuse to print a 22 year old in a bikini and pretend it was newsworthy, so instead I wrote it as a comment, published it on this site, and fed a link through the ConnectCannock twitter account explaining my decision.
A few days later a friend of mine mentioned how he’d seen my comment on the issue in the local paper, the Cannock Chase Post. Only I hadn’t made a comment to the paper. In fact, I’d been disappointed by their lack of interest in dealing with me – I realised ConnectCannock isn’t necessarily a source of professional journalism, but I’d always thought there’d been areas where we could’ve helped each other out.
So I sent them an email:
Hi Charlotte,I sent a tweet earlier to your @chasepost account, but it doesn’t seem to be very active so I thought I’d send a quick email as well.With regards to the article entitled “Residents’ support for Jodie in Facebook row” (http://www.chasepost.
net/news-in-cannock/cannock-) , you’ve apparently quoted me, as per the paragraph below: burntwood-news/cannock-news/ 2011/09/01/residents-support- for-jodie-in-facebook-row- 93633-29346552/
Cannock resident Ian Mellett said: “Now 23, Jodie Jones is still one of the youngest councillors in the country, and while her politics may not be in alignment with that of others, it’s hard to really take this as serious news.
“I have a deep suspicion that if this had been a 23-year-old male slouching drunkenly in Speedos, then there wouldn’t be quite so much interest.”However, this isn’t actually a quote, and is a section lifted directly from my blog, which was used to ‘report’ on this as I didn’t see it really as fitting with my local news site, ConnectCannock.
I have no real issue with being quoted, but fundamentally this was taken from a written source without any permission being granted, nor with any real attribution (a link back to the personal site, or ConnectCannock itself, which is what it really relates to), and it’s specifically covered under a creative commons license.
Just to be clear though, this isn’t specifically a complaint (my only complaint is that I don’t get the Chase Post delivered to my flat still!), more that I think it needs clarification. There are instances when we publish elements in other newspapers and websites, and I’m fairly certain that you wouldn’t simply copy their text and claim that they’ve quoted directly to you, and the shortening of the original text does somewhat skew my intentions.
Fundamentally (as I hope is conveyed with my email) my intention isn’t to try and belittle the Chase Post. As a local paper, it does a good job, and it’s one of the few free papers I do generally read. My real intentions can be reduced to a handful of key points.
The work is taken directly from my website, and while I’m fully aware I’m not going to get thousands of hits, if text is being used from the site then I’d expect that the reader would be informed of the original source, especially when the quote taken along is somewhat out of context.
I have no issue being quoted – but a simple request to allow what is essentially covered by copyright really would have been the minimum expected. In that instance, I might have modified the quote slightly, as the current text is fairly blatantly from a written point, not a quote.
Without trying to seem precious about what’s written, fundamentally the text of any blog is covered by copyright, and it seems a number of news sources at all levels have difficulty with digital copyright (see Andy Mabbetts example of the BBC’s misunderstanding).
I’m fairly certain that the Trinity Mirror group would not take kindly to me printing sections of their site without consent and proper attribution, so why should the work of a blog be any different?
At the time of writing, I’ve still yet to receive any form of response with regards to the matter.