Gini Dietrich

Should Journalists Be Required to Link to Inspiration Sources?

By: Gini Dietrich | October 8, 2012 | 

Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and I always record Inside PR late on Friday afternoons.

It gives us time to reflect on the week, plus we typically don’t have any interruptions that late so it’s a good time to focus.

This past week, which will run on Wednesday, Joe asked us if we’d read, “Acknowledging Antecedents, Again” by Darren Barefoot (an awesome name, by-the-way).

I had not read it so I took a few minutes to do so. And it let to a very lively discussion where we didn’t all agree.

The Back Story

Each of you likely will remember the hubbub this summer when Cathryn Sloan, a University of Iowa student, wrote , “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.”

Whoa, Nelly. Did people get offended. In all fairness, it was short-sighted and, well, lacking of perspective, but articles and blog posts galore were written about it.

Including an Inc. article by Hollis Thomases who wrote, “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.”

In that article, she did not make mention of Sloan’s original blog post, nor did she link to any other articles or blog posts that defended or criticized it.

She just wrote her perspective and let the readers defend or criticize her.

In the same vein, Shelley White wrote an article for The Globe & Mail called, “Why a 22-Year-Old Shouldn’t Be Handling Your Social Media” (they since have changed the article’s title to, “Social Media too Important to Be Handled By an Intern”).

And, like Thomases, did not link to the original article nor do any of the other articles or blog posts that defended or criticized it. She did not, in fact, even link to the Inc. article.

The Echo Chamber

Which is where the awesomely-named Darren Barefoot comes in.

He challenged The Globe & Mail for not linking to Thomases’s article and for using a much too similar “link bait” headline (which was changed when Barefoot emailed the business editor).

But here’s the real meat of the discussion.

He says,

In our remix culture, I feel strongly that we ought to, whenever possible, acknowledge our antecedents. It would have been easy for the Globe to recognize and link to Inc. in the text of the article (“In August, Inc. asked the question…”) or in a footer at the end of the article.

And, as Joe, Martin, and I were discussing it on Friday, they agreed. And, in my own practice I agree. I always give credit where it is due and link or quote when I’ve received inspiration from another source.

But I’m on the fence about it when it comes to journalism. You know, the kind where people get paid to write for publications that report stories without bias or opinion.

The Globe article was really well-written and was very well researched and reported, complete with quotes from both sides of the argument.

Sure, they have since admitted they read Thomases’s original article and that’s where they got their inspiration. But, in today’s digital age, are they required to link to it?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • DaveThackeray

    @ginidietrich Absolutely – but only if that source is @spinsucks or has gnomes in it.

    • ginidietrich

      @DaveThackeray Not just any gnomes…zombie gnomes!

      • DaveThackeray

        @ginidietrich and still I’m trying to remember why we’re talking on Wednesday – but can’t wait nonetheless. You’re wonderwoman!

        • ginidietrich

          @DaveThackeray Oh good Lord. You invited me! I think about Marketing in the Round?

        • DaveThackeray

          @ginidietrich you fell for it! Ok, I’ll add gullible to your strengths. We’re going to have a ROCKING Wednesday, my infallible friend!

  • I’m not a fan of “requiring” but I think it is a good practice. I try to link to posts that stir up ideas for me, and if I was going to write a post in direct response to another, I certainly would link. 
    Now of course I’m also forgetful and sometimes I read something that sparks an idea, and then I can’t remember where I got the idea…

    • @KenMueller Yes, but you’re a blogger. Is it good practice for journalists, too?

      • @ginidietrich Well as a former, and still some time, journalist, attribution has always been important. That’s why news organizations will always use terminology like “According to (NBC/The New York Times/AP) …” .. I think it is a similar thing. We argue about whether or not bloggers should be considered journalists, but we also need to think about journalists getting info/inspiration from bloggers, tweets, etc.

  • SteelToad

    If they’re not replicating copy or data then they should not be required to link back just for having gotten inspiration or an idea from another site (though it is still the polite thing to do).  If you make it a requirement, then every blog will be catching heck from every other blog that ever published a similar article on any subject.  There is still room to allow people to be polite without dictating their behavior.

    • @SteelToad This is more where I’m leaning, though I’m still on the fence. They didn’t quote the article, they didn’t take any data from it. They simply wrote an article about why the intern shouldn’t run your social media. Heck, I’ve written that blog post. Should I be upset they didn’t link to me? (to your point)

  • I don’t believe that *requiring* linking is the way to go, but it’s most certainly the ethical thing to do. My perception of the credibility of a blog article is definitely influenced by how willing the author is to ‘name names’, especially when they’re being critical of something that was said/written/done. 
    I know that’s not directly related to the topic at hand, but it’s something that I think about often.  J-schools are certainly recognizing that it’s a digital first, legacy media second kind of world and maybe that means looking a new ways of crediting sources and ‘inspiration’.

    • @jasonkonopinski But why is it the ethical thing to do? Other than reading the article and having a similar headline, the Globe story was completely different. It was well-balanced and looked at both sides of the situation. So why is it ethical they link to the place they got the inspiration?

      • @ginidietrich Context, as @AmyVernon pointed out.  If educating readers is the ultimate objective, attribution provides that context, especially if it’s a reaction piece.  Might be splitting hairs, but I think it’s important.

        • @jasonkonopinski  But, in this case, it wasn’t a reaction piece. I’m not even sure the editor/reporter knew of Sloan’s original article. They read “why a 23-year-old shouldn’t manage your social media” and thought they would be doing their readers a service to write something similar. To @SteelToad ‘s point, she could have read 20 other articles/blog posts to fully form her story’s outline. Does that mean she should have linked to all 20 of them?

  • To me, it would seem like the ‘right’ thing to do, but is it so egregarious that someone should be called out over it? There does seem to be a pretty good checks and balance system in here and it’s not so easy to hide anymore; so shouldn’t that be good enough? 
    How did you like that word?………see, I know stuff………….:).

    • @bdorman264 Big word, Mr. Dorman! I’m still on the fence about it. It would have been nice if they’d linked to the Inc article, or even to Sloan’s blog post, but I don’t know that it is a requirement. I can’t decide.

  • heybonanos

    @ginidietrich @spinsucks Print media already know this: we see stories ripped off by TV all the time. Some acknowledge; some don’t.

  • Yes, it’s the right thing to do. Acknowledging sources that led you to your conclusion is the basics of good reporting, and inspiration is a source. Can they say hand on heart that they would have wrote the same article if they had not seen the original?
    If I don’t want to link to something (for any reason) I tend to say in the post. 
    I’ve had better conversations in the comments section based on linking to inspiration, people are able to form their own opinions. Let’s stop treating readers like idiots 🙂

    • @SarahArrow So you’re saying that if you link to the original article, you’re providing context on another side that you don’t have in your own post?

      • @ginidietrich yes, most people provide the context in their post. 
        It reads weird without it, like everyone is in on the “joke” and you are not, that doesn’t make a pleasant feeling.

        • @SarahArrow I don’t think, in this particular instance though, that’s the case. The Globe article was very well-balanced and reported. If I didn’t know the back story, I would have been well-informed. 
          Not that I disagree with you – I always link (as you can tell from this blog post). But I’m not sure the Globe needed to.

  • mikeashworth

    @ginidietrich perhaps they could just start with the blatant plagiarism sources lol

  • In that particular case, absolutely, because it was, truthfully, a rebuttal to that. And not linking to it fails to provide proper context. I think it really depends. Are they *required*? No, of course not. Does common courtesy say they should? Yes.
    But most importantly here is context. By not linking to it, they didn’t give their readers the proper context, the entire debate that already was raging that some of their readers may not have been aware of. And for their readers who were aware, they looked kind of lame for not mentioning.

    • @AmyVernon But…we live in the social media bubble and I would venture an educated guess that most of the Globe readers are not in our world. Sure, we heard all about it and got tired of the discussion, but we’re not the average newspaper reader. And the article was really well done (better than anything else that was written about the subject). So, really, the only reason I’d see the common courtesy thing playing in is the business editor did read the Inc. article before he assigned the story. Does that require the courtesy?

      • @ginidietrich I still see it as context. The only reason they were doing that post was because of the debate that raged around the original post. If the original post hadn’t been done, the Inc article wouldn’t have been. Otherwise it seems as if it’s coming out of nowhere, and I think that context is valuable.

        • @AmyVernon And to that point, I think the Inc. article should have linked to the original post from Cathryn Sloan. But there was no mention of it.

        • @ginidietrich Absolutely. Inc should have linked to it and it was lame that they didn’t, either.

  • My question is: what is their reasoning for not linking? Is it that they want to APPEAR to have originated the idea? My knee jerk reaction is against requiring but for an understanding that it’s unethical NOT to…. and then I think of our politicians and their ability to avoid making the ethical choice if it isn’t illegal and it gives me pause. Journalism’s reputation is ALREADY in the gutter… maybe these sort of requirements ARE in order to save it from itself.

    • @AmyMccTobin I’m not sure it it unethical not to link to it. It was a completely different story. It was reported and researched. It quoted specific people the reporter talked to and was not based on opinion. The only reason it gave pause was the title was nearly the same and the inspiration came from the Inc. article. But, other than those two things, it was a different story.

      • @ginidietrich My next question is: Who is their audience?  I’m guessing people in PR… like you… who instantly saw the connection… who had some intuitive feeling that there was a question.  Why not just be up front?

        • @AmyMccTobin I just can’t decide. Does it go against journalists as being the ultimate source if they’re linking to other blogs or articles?

        • @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin Journalists link to other journalists all of the time. But this was not a story that required attribution to the original story. It was simply the inspiration, not the source. And as far as audiences go, I saw as it more of a human relations or executive audience. I mean the headline says ‘hiring’ right in it.

        • SteelToad

          @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin Just something else to consider … It’s entirely possible that in planning to do a blog posting, the author searched for other articles already out there on the interwebs.  There may have been 20 different blog posts all covering nearly the same thing, that all provided some inspiration, but one more than most. Why should one inspiration require linking-back and others not.  It’s a slippery slope dealing with such intangibles

        • @SteelToad  @ginidietrich I guess you have to be INSIDE of the head of the writer to know just how direct that inspiration was…   I know that when I’m inspired by a post, or influenced into writing my own… I ALWAYS cite the source.  But then again, I’m not a jounalist:)

        • @SteelToad  @ginidietrich I guess you have to be INSIDE of the head of the writer to know just how direct that inspiration was…   I know that when I’m inspired by a post, or influenced into writing my own… I ALWAYS cite the source.  But then again, I’m not a journalist:)

    • jenzings

      @AmyMccTobin I don’t know if this is still true or not, but when blogs first started getting attention (Dan Rather fake deferment letter for George W. Bush era), part of the problem was that the platforms didn’t support linking out to other sources. I wonder if it just became habitual after that.

  • The Rule:
    Always link to sources.
    Bloggers, journalists, reporters…
    It’s the right thing to do.
    Simple, huh?
    (But, as I’m finding out-and I’m not happy about it-some don’t.)
    Thanks, Gini!
    The Franchise King®

    • @FranchiseKing The Inc. story was the idea for the story, not used as a source in the story.
      And this is probably a discussion for another time, but bloggers are not journalists.

      • @Anthony_Rodriguez  @FranchiseKing Then couldn’t one have said, “An idea was sparked when I read the story in Inc…”?

        • @ExtremelyAvg  @FranchiseKing News reporting is not  a first-person point of view. It’s third person. In fact, a reporter interjecting their ideas into the story is a big no, no.

      • @Anthony_Rodriguez  @FranchiseKing What Anthony said…it wasn’t a source. It just happened to be an article the editor read and then assigned the story. Who knows if the reporter read the story(ies)?

  • I don’t know if it is required but I feel it is the right thing to do. Too many might take this one step further and might claim the idea was their “own”. Okay, if you aren’t a sleazy person and you later on agree that a certain person’s work was the inspiration behind this one, then out of respect for that inspiration the link back is quite a good thing to do. 
    Not only will it prevent one from getting the idea that the issue of debate / discussion was “taken” but the original author might come by and appreciate. 
    It is just the right thing to do. Simple!

  • There’s no problem here. We are all inspired by the things we read in order to create original works. In books, art, movies, commercials, marketing and news. This reporter simply read a story from an USA publication and brought a “local” Canadian perspective to it. This happens all of the time.

    • @Anthony_Rodriguez That’s what I said when we recorded Inside PR on Friday, but Martin and Joe vehemently disagreed with me. So I thought about it all weekend. I did link to the places where I got inspiration in this post, but I’m not sure I had to. It could have been, “we were talking about this, what do you think?”

      • @ginidietrich I was a journalist, and have a degree in journalism. Citing your sources is extremely important. But I think everyone here is thinking about sources in a completely different way than what sources really means. They’re coming at it from a blogging context where people regularly talk about the process of writing a story including making their points.
        Words are a premium in journalism. Heck, words are a premium in marketing too. Writing about story process is not only a waste of words, it’s wasting readers’ time too. Being concise is not only required, it makes writing better.

        • dbarefoot

          @Anthony_Rodriguez  @ginidietrich Words are demonstrably not at a premium on the web. They are free. There are many ways to make acknowledging antecedents and sources obvious or subtle. For example, each article could have an additional tab ‘behind’ the article itself which noted sources and, for bonus points, edits to the article itself.As I’ve said elsewhere in these comments, the main barrier to acknowledging the idea they copied is the Globe’s pretense that they’re an authority who devises ideas in a vacuum.

  • rdopping

    Just like the Globe to change the name of their post. So darn Canadian. Can’t offend anyone for heaven sake.
    The question for me is does not getting paid to write something preclude you from naming your sources? If you are specifically inspired by another writer’s work, then yes a link is almost obligatory (read: don’t be a douche) but if you are writing opinion on a widely reported news item then, well, maybe not.
    Is it an issue of credibility when it comes from a news source as opposed to a blogger?

    • @rdopping I’m a big fan of giving credit where it is due. It isn’t just a matter of fairness, it is about showing some gratitude for the inspiration.

    • @rdopping I don’t think getting paid precludes you from being nice. But I do think the Globe & Mail or the NY Times get a pass when reporting the news. This story was all over the freaking web. Should they have listed every article or blog post that talked about it?

      • rdopping

        @ginidietrich I would say not in that context. My mind wandered to sources listed in papers thinking ubiquitously about paper and lumped the news in the same context. Silly me, of course the news is not factual and thereby no need for references.

  • I think it’s polite to link back to it. I have had people go so far as to email me and ask if it was okay to write something similar if they linked back to me as the inspiration. It’s nice to know that your work inspires someone. One of my most visited posts on my 4 Hens site was (ironically) inspired by a senior in high school.  They wrote about their parents being on social media and what not to do.. I thought it only fair to give our POV on what they shouldn’t be doing. It was a fun connection that the 2 of us made after I did my retort.

    • @KristenDaukas I agree with you. And I always link (as you can tell from this blog post). But do we expect a reporter to do the same? What if it was the NY Times and not the Globe & Mail?

  • I find the word ‘inspiration’ to be the difficulty in answering your question and leads us all open to the it depends response. I don’t see ethics as part of the equation as inspiration for writing may come from a compilation of posts, articles, daily life or dream. Should the inspiration emanate from a sole source I would agree that acknowledgement is respectful, the right thing to do and the socially responsible action is to link,  but not a requirement.

    • @annelizhannan That’s kind of where I land on this…though I do see both sides. Let’s say I write a book. A novel. And I piece together character development from reading three authors and mystery from another and detail from another. Should I mention them in my book acknowledgements? It sure would be nice if I did say they inspired me, but is it necessary?

      • @ginidietrich How many of us truly have original thought. Are not our thoughts formulated from a concoction of what we read or experience. Surely, when performing your research for a novel you keep notes of specific ideas that inspired you but unless you cite with direct attachment to that author it becomes a nicety, not a necessity to acknowledge. I’m referring to plagiarism here. 
        I have read over all the comments on this page and formed MY thoughts ‘inspired’ by much of what I read. I have not quoted anyone, nor did one statement spark my necessity to link. The topic was not my original thought but I am here writing about it because you and others have inspired me to do so. I acknowledge the collective contribution but I don’t feel the necessity to thank each one.  
        By the way, for your novel, you have quite the reservoir of characters here. At any given time or place, without notes before me, I could help you acknowledge them because they have somehow inspired me but I doubt it would be necessary or required…get it?

        • @annelizhannan Yeah…I’m totally with you on this one.

  • Sometimes journalists are bloggers but not in a paid context.
    Anyhoo, I think it depends a variety of things.
    If you are writing about a “significant” event it might be hard to pinpoint just one point of inspiration. The election, Olympics, end of the The Sopranos all come to mind as having been topics of past posts I have written in which there were fingers pointed about who wrote what first.
    But these things were so big it is hard to say who was inspired first and by what. Could be coincidence, or maybe not.
    There is a topic I used to “own” on one of my blogs that was recently covered by a big publication. I say used to “own” because the publication’s online presence is so much larger than my own they knocked me down a notch or two in the search results.
    I think the writer visited my blog, but I am not sure. As you can imagine they didn’t give me credit and while it irks me, I am not certain they are really obligated to. Maybe if the focus was more specific and touched an angle that hadn’t been looked at by anyone by me, but even then…
    So are we obligated to disclose or link to the inspiration? Nah, in most situations I would say no, but it would be the courteous and respectful thing to do, provided we were aware of the other.

    • @thejoshuawilner It’s kind of like I posted a video on Gin and Topics a few weeks ago and six of my friends (who I know read the blog) posted one of the videos on their Facebook pages without a) linking to the blog post or b) tagging me in the update. And there were TONS of shares so my little blog post would have gotten a lot of attention. It kind of hurt my feelings so I know what you mean.

  • Eh, I don’t think it should be a requirement…
    Hey, I you just read me
    And this is crazy
    But here’s my backlink
    So credit me maybe?
    I don’t know about all that

    • @SociallyGenius You are nuts! I’m trying to read this in that tune.

      • @ginidietrich But I totally had a typo and can’t edit on mobile… Shouldn’t have said “I you.” The I threw off the whole tune

  • ginidietrich

    @marthamuzychka Right? Is it plagiarism if they don’t source?

    • marthamuzychka

      @ginidietrich Attribution always important. I think the original headline was the nod to the source in Globe example. Wente different tho.

    • marthamuzychka

      @ginidietrich With Wente there were whole paragraphs taken & quotes collected by others but not credited.

      • ginidietrich

        @marthamuzychka Yeah…that’s awful.

  • EveGelman

    @ginidietrich Bloggers have rules?

    • ginidietrich

      @EveGelman Ha! Well, some of us follow rules.

      • EveGelman

        @ginidietrich Anybody can be a journalist today if they have access to the internet. Where are the fact checkers?

        • ginidietrich

          @EveGelman That was the issue with this particular article – the fact checker didn’t feel like there needed to be attribution

  • I do enjoy coming here. That was a great line, “You know, the kind where people get paid to write for publications that report stories without bias or opinion.” Ah, the good old days when journalism meant writing without bias or opinion. I miss the 70’s.
    I’m quite sure that any student in journalism school who submitted a piece without bias or opinion would be kicked out of school and possibly set on fire. I don’t think it is allowed anymore.
    It was nice to wax nostalgic about the good old days, though.

    • @ExtremelyAvg I wondered if anyone would mention that. I actually smirked to myself when I wrote it. But they are SUPPOSED to be unbiased.

      • @ginidietrich  @ExtremelyAvg I smirked when I read it.

        • rdopping

          @Erin F.  @ginidietrich  @ExtremelyAvg See! That’s why guys like me who have NO IDEA about journalism should just STFU. My original comment is rendered redundant and should be removed from the stream…..:-)

  • It’s crazy that this is even a discussion.
    The first things you learn in Journalism 101 are the 5 W’s (&H), the inverted pyramid…and citing your sources. If you, as a blogger or journalist, talk about something, you should let people know where to find the source material.
    Online, it’s maybe three clicks.
    1) Copy the URL
    2) Click the “Link” button in your CMS
    3) Paste the URL
    4) Click “Done”
    If the source is germane to your article/blog, then it’s a no-brainer. (One exception – if it’s the Hulk Hogan sex tape. Nobody needs to see that. cc jeffespo )

    • @MikeSchaffer  But that’s the rub for me. I don’t think it was germane to her article. Would it have been polite for her to link to it? Sure. Could she have written it without reading the original article? Absolutely. And there isn’t any evidence she read it; just that her editor did and assigned the story.

  • ahockley

    @djwaldow @ginidietrich Required? No. Is it a dick move when they don’t? Yes.

  • ginidietrich

    @djwaldow Once again, you rule

  • RichBecker

    @ChattyProf @ginidietrich If I had to attribute inspiration, I would have to cite either Michelangelo or Bukowski every day. Sigh.

  • BLOGBloke

    Goes for bloggers too .. RT @RichBecker @spinsucks Should Journalists Be Required to Link to Inspiration Sources?

    • RichBecker

      @BLOGBloke @SpinSucks True. My earlier quip not withstanding, it is proper form to hit tip, cite, or link the most direct inspiration.

      • BLOGBloke

        @RichBecker @SpinSucks I would also add that we should attempt to determine the ‘original’ source as best we can in this age of plagiarism.

      • BLOGBloke

        @RichBecker @SpinSucks Which really isn’t all that hard to do thanks to Google indexing.

  • You’d think they’d want to mention it. But if they don’t, you can always take great joy in pointing it out in the comments section.

    • @barrettrossie That happened to me once. But I didn’t have to do it. My friends commented on the blogger’s blog that he, in fact, did not come up with the idea. That it originated from me.

  • dbarefoot

    Thanks for writing (and talking) about my article. You don’t actually say why you’re on the fence with regard to journalists. Why should they recognize their antecedents?

    • dbarefoot

      And by “why should they”, I meant “why shouldn’t they”.

      • @dbarefoot I’m on the fence because it was a source of inspiration, but there were a gazillion articles and blog posts written about that particular subject (the Inc article didn’t link to the original article Cathyrn Sloane wrote) so what if the idea came from the firestorm it created on the web and not that particular article? 
        Do I think it would have been nice of them to do? Yes. Do I think their headline was way too similar? Absolutely. And I love that you called out the editor about it. But I’m on the fence as to whether or not they should recognize their antecedents.

        • dbarefoot

          @ginidietrich Fair enough. I’ll reproduce what I wrote to somebody about this topic:To me, the burden of acknowledging antecedents is on the creator (writer, editor, documentary filmmaker, web designer and so forth), and they often know where their ideas came from. If one can clearly draw a line backward to what inspired or informed a piece of work, then they ought to acknowledge that. In a couple of earlier posts on this topic (,, I’ve cited a bunch of examples where this would be pretty straightforward.
          Of course, we may not honestly always be able to cite our sources, because they’ve become mixed up and mashed together in our head. That’s fair enough, but we ought to try.
          Giving credit is free, as are pixels. To my thinking, it’s a foundational aspect of the web. The main barrier to doing so is the pretense that one is an absolute authority who developed an idea in a vacuum.

        • @dbarefoot I don’t disagree with you. And, in the case you outline here, I vehemently agree.

        • @dbarefoot Where I’m on the fence is if inspiration came from a conversation happening online, but not one particular blog/article.
          And, in this case, if the editor knew about the article, but the reporter did not, where does the responsibility lie? Should he have linked to the Inc. article after she turned in the story? Actually, now that I type that out, I think yes. He should have.
          Thanks for contributing to the conversation, awesomely-named man!

  • Oakville

    @DonnaPapacosta We do too. People get “inspiration” from our articles A LOT. 🙂

  • Interesting topic that focuses on who is the creator of an original idea or theme.  I don’t think that the age issue necessarily originated with Cathryn Sloan, since there have been prior posts on who is best to run your social media (education, experience, accomplishments and…age). Sloan’s incendiary moment cascaded (her 15 minutes?) into a significant response.  The writers who didn’t choose to cite the original ember may have attempted to create the perception of an original topic choice (journalistic intent?) or simply didn’t think that they needed to attribute the trending topic during its brief run (cavalier journalism?). We could push for standards of attribution, but I think common courtesy is about the best we can hope for in the Wild Wild West of our new journalism.

    • @joeldon I think so, too. While I’d love for someone to say, “We saw this at Spin Sucks first,” that rarely (if ever) happens.

  • itweetlive

    @KC_slater Journalists have never been more in the public eye. But they will also benefit from these public forums

  • kfovargue

    @PointBlankSEO if your a good journo you already do

  • itweetlive

    @shonali Journalists have never been more in the public eye, that’s for sure. But there also great advantages.

  • itweetlive

    @tedcoine Journalists have never been more in the public eye. But they will also benefit from these public forums

  • itweetlive

    @PointBlankSEO Journalists have never been more in the public eye, that’s for sure. But there also great advantages.

  • Required? Please no.
    I had the idea for a blog post like this, may have tweeted it or mentioned it and assume you read every word I type. 
    Would I like a link and credit? Duh! 
    Would putting in a link and credit be a good idea for you? I think so, everyone benefits from sharing.
    When we start trying to make rules like this, we get in trouble. The patent system was developed to protect idea that people made into products. It’s declined into ridiculous claims on people who put real work into developing something from those ideas.  Surely, the though in my head is not covered (yet). The conversation we have over lunch doesn’t need it either. Blog post? Heck no, that would mean every wannabe inventor would be writing up all sorts of silliness and no one on deadline would ever get done checking.
    Copyright protects us from plagiarism. There are enough blatant abuses that we will never get to them. Let’s not add to that mess.
    The above ideas are mine. If you want to steal them, I hope you’ll send good karma, links or money to me. If you don’t I won’t chase you down (that’s karma’s job)

    • @WarrenWhitlock I feel like I should write a blog post with this comment and not credit you now.
      In all seriousness, this is the side of the fence I land on. But, in this particular instance, the editor admitted he had read the original article and it is what inspired their piece. So why not link to it?

  • danatanseo

    If journalists should be required to link to inspirational sources, then shey should also be required to be excellent writers. The latter should take care of the former. It seems requiring all journalists to be excellent, responsible writers is the real thing in question.

    • @danatanseo Ha! I hadn’t thought about it that way. I think, like anything else, there are some really great and ethical journalists and some not so much.

  • ToniAntonetti

    You’re only required to link to a post or article if you mention it or quote from it. If you were INSPIRED by it, it would be pretty ridiculous to have to attribute inspiration. Likewise, we’d require network TV shows that are “ripped from the headlines” to attribute their inspiration, too. Won’t happen. BTW, just covered the topic on my PR Chicago blog today (no, I hadn’t read this post, but I did link to some of the articles).

    • @ToniAntonetti So, if you read an article and it causes you to write a blog post about it, you don’t think it would be nice (if not required) to say, “In the U.S., Inc. wrote an article including the 11 reasons a 23-year-old shouldn’t run your social media. We dig some digging on both sides of the argument and this is what we’ve come up with.”??

  • molasses_jones

    @helpareporter @SpinSucks ABSOLUTELY… actually so should everyone else.

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  • I always acknowledge and link to antecedents, in fact I’ve always been under the impression by Google that if your blog content was totally devoid of external links to contextually relevant articles that it would hurt your rankings in the SERPs, with only .edu sites being excepted. I remember seeing a few case studies several years ago that seemed to verify that. 
    … but I have to agree with you in the case of the Sloane article. They may as well have linked to Facebook because there was far more said about it on Facebook than anywhere else – the fact that NextJen Journal had Facebook commenting enabled is the primary reason that Sloane’s article went viral while dozens of other articles in a similar vein never did. 
    I even wrote an article titled something like “Why You Shouldn’t Let a 14 Year Old Manage Your Social Media”.  I never read the Hollis Lady’s article though. I probably did see it tweeted (I remember purposely parodying the title from someone else’s post), but I never read any of those articles because I already knew what they’d say.

    • @etelligence REALLY interesting point about SEO, Adam. I hadn’t even considered that.

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