Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

News.com Needs To Start Citing Sources

Earlier today, Bink.nu, Neowin, and ActiveWin all reported about a post from NvidiaFreak on Guru3d.com about the fact that Yahoo posted the IE7 final build before they should have. I linked to ActiveWin, because Bink temporarily took his post down to revise it.

So this afternoon, CNET posted a story about it. As usual, the only links contained in the post were their own (with the exception if the actual download link, of course).

I brought this up with CNET a couple of weeks ago, when they reported on my story about Microsoft opening a display up at Disneyland, without citing me as the source of their tip. I knew they had that story from me, because my source was a Disney enthusiast site that my sister posts on.

In response, CNET had this to say:

Thanks for your note on CNET News.com's linking policy. In general, our policy is to link to whatever may be relevant for readers, to link whenever possible to original source material, and to link whenever possible to the page on a Web site most directly related to the subject.

As is standard journalistic practice, News.com reporters will refer to the first report of news, if they are unable to source it themselves. (In this case, that was the MiceAge item.) That holds whether the report is in a newspaper, a blog, TV broadcast or other outlet. Typically, we would not refer to an intermediate report, as in "The New York Times reports that the Financial Times is saying that Company X has merged with Company Y."

I can understand that, when you word it that way. But it's not clumsy to say "Yahoo has released IE7 early, says a report on Neowin.net"... just like every other blogger who reported it. Linking to place you originally read your news item is a matter of respect to the people who reported it before you. Not only that, but it makes CNET look like it was their crack journalism that got the information, which is quite often not the case. It's almost like stealing an interview and reporting it as your own. It's just not right.

Bloggers aren't going to do the journalistic dirty-work for main news outlets to steal it as their own. News.com found a way to link two of their other IE7 articles into the entry, the could have found a way to link in their primary source. Anything other than that is just irresponsible. And the only way they're going to change is if the policy is discussed in public.

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Comments

  • List244 said:

    Haha, wouldn't it be funny if they stole this article here and posted it as their own though?

    October 18, 2006 5:39 PM
  • I stopped reading news.com many moons ago for similar reasons...well, just lack of overall professional journalism as a whole actually.  I remember when I used to look forward to reading C|Net on a daily basis, but that was over 3 years ago.

    October 19, 2006 1:10 AM
  • May 2, 2008 5:33 PM