Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Need a Newspaper Jounalist to Tell Me How This Works

Last week, I was reading my morning newspaper and having my first cup of dark roast extra bold coffee, when I had a moment of confusion. I'd just read this sentence in an Associated Press article on Egypt:

Much of the anger grew from the country's dismal economic situation and the ever-growing burden it projects on already strapped Egyptians.

The sentence falls in the middle of a section of narrative appearing to be the work and conclusions of the AP journalists writing the story.

But the sentence sounded so familiar.

I went back to the top of the page and reread the USA Today article on Egypt.

There it was again. The same sentence. No quotation marks, no attribution.

Much of the anger grew from the country's dismal economic situation and the ever-growing burden it projects on already strapped Egyptians.

How does this happen?

Are all stories written from government or international press releases? Are journalists no longer expected to cite their sources? Am I nit-picking?

6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They just copy and run with it. Of course, when they do that, they sometimes don't check to see if it's true or not, either.

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I'm not a journalist, so I have to admit I can't answer your question from that perspective. But I do have a background in academia, where citing one's sources is absolutely critical. So I don't think you're being nit-picky. But again, I'm not a journalist so I don't have the expertise...

Karen Walker said...

I don't think journalists are exempt from citing sources.

Julie Luek said...

That's actually kind of funny. Legit or not, I bet the writer didn't count on someone reading that thoroughly. I think there are a lot of liberties taken in journalism --what is done with language, grammar rules and even creating new vocabulary.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

I am a trained journalist, although I don't write for those type of newspapers. So I don't know the "rules." However, I do know from working with media and television in my line of work that they are out for a quick headline and always in a hurry. They don't necessarily both to fact check and validate sources. It's all about the "shock" factor in many cases, and it's no surprise they don't bother to use their own work in some cases. When writing novels, as you know Pat, that is called plagiarism. Liberal media apparently gets away with it...

Susan Vittitow Mark said...

I worked for a newspaper, and this is completely legit. The AP puts out stories that all newspapers may use verbatim. Newspapers pay for the material. They're written pyramid-style with the most pertinent information at the top, so you just trim it to fit however many column inches you have. It's not some kind of "liberal media" thing. It's not plagiarism. It's standard practice and legitimately licensed. Most newspapers are a combo of AP material and locally produced stories. AP member newspapers will also put their own stories out on the wire. And yes, they ARE always in a hurry. I have never worked so hard and under so much stress as I did at a newspaper. Reporters do a difficult job.