By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Do credit

A few years ago, when I was working for the Boston Phoenix, I called Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz and suggested he look into why the Boston Globe had run with a story broken by one of my Phoenix colleagues without giving the Phoenix any credit.

I don’t have Kurtz’s exact quote, but this is pretty close: If I investigated every complaint I got about reporters who didn’t think their work had been properly credited, I’d never do anything else.

Indeed, and it’s a line I ended up using myself a few times — including the day that I was simultaneously fielding complaints that the Globe had not credited the Boston Herald, and that the Herald had not credited some other paper. It’s endemic, and there are no generally agreed-upon rules for when you should and when you shouldn’t.

All of which is a long way of saying that Adam Reilly’s treatment of the credit issue in this week’s Phoenix is among the more thoughtful analyses of this sore subject that I’ve seen.

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  1. mike_b1

    Hehe. Your Kurtz anecdote reminds me of when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that Grady Little’s firing was a big mistake, and I emailed him a bet that it wasn’t. If he turned out right, I said I would donate $50 to a charity of his choice. If he was wrong, he had to admit it in his column.His response was something along the lines of, “If I wrote columns every time I was wrong, that’s all I would be writing about.”Which is akin to admitting he’s not a very accurate observer.

  2. Anonymous

    Dan,An idea for you or another media critic: Giving credit is an important topic, and another one is whether investigative stories get picked up at all. The Pulitzer finalists have (mostly) been leaked. One of them is from Boston — the WSJ’s great reporting on corporate fraud by backdating stock options. I wonder whether that story has made Page One of many newspapers around the country. I’ll bet it hasn’t been on Page One of more than a few of the top 100 papers.

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