We are all journalists now, so how do you credit your sources? If you base a story on a report, do you link to it, name it, or just refer to “a report”?
John Gruber at Daring Fireball recently had a thought provoking blog post:
You get a story from somewhere else, you link to the original when you post about it. That’s the first rule of web attribution…
Not every site is good about such things. Regarding this same story, Josh Lowensohn at CNET wrote about it, as did Scott Steinberg at Rolling Stone. Not only do neither of them mention Federico Viticci or MacStories by name, but neither of them even included a link to the post…
I don’t see the angle on it. Why not err on the side of magnanimity? Bestowing a measure of credibility upon Viticci by naming him would not have come at any cost
I think the rules are somewhat different for small blogs like mine. I include a lot of links (more than 10 in some posts). There is not much benefit to the journalist referenced, and including details alongside every link would make my text less readable. I could put table of references at the bottom, like Wikipedia does, but I think nobody would read it.
So I’m going to do the following:
- When I reuse an extract, like that from Daring Fireball above, I will aim to link to the article and name the Website and author
- When make a smaller reference, like the mention of Wikipedia above, I will normally just add an “anonymous” link. I will only name the author if that’s really significant
I wish that “real” journalists would do the same, though one should not expect much. The End of the News of the World (Daily Show video) and the Theft of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s family medical records demonstrates the ethical standards of some news organizations, and linking is one way that bloggers are better. I spend literally hours trying to track down sources when big organizations re-report news or research without including links to the original sources. They obviously had these links at one time, but presumably because of worries about copyright law they often omit them - Pete