Earlier today, I made a personal appeal to The Telegraph: Please don’t steal my quotes.
Actually, I put it a different way: I asked that the British newspaper cease and desist immediately from plagiarizing my reporting. I did not give Jon Swaine, the newspaper’s New York correspondent, permission to use my quotes without attribution.
For GetReligion readers wondering what I’m talking about, here’s the deal: I wrote a news blog post for The Christian Chronicle on Saturday night about an Arizona church member and his wife who were shot in Saturday’s rampage outside a Tucson supermarket.
But in the case of Swaine — whose newspaper’s website says that he “joined the Telegraph in 2007 and was shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year at the 2010 British Press Awards” — he “borrowed” my material with no attribution.
Here’s how his story read as of a few hours ago:
The Stoddards were described by friends as “the lifeblood” of their 120-member congregation. Mr Stoddard was said to have been shot in the head as he tried to protect his wife, who was wounded.
“He got on top of her and tried to shield her,” said Jessica Knapp, who worked with them at the church. “This is going to be a huge hole in our congregation.”
All of that information, appearing under Swaine’s byline, came directly from the Chronicle.
After my complaint, Swaine didn’t acknowledge me directly or apologize. But he updated his story to give the Chronicle credit, including this attribution:
Mike Nowak, the minister at Mountain Avenue, described the couple as generous and said Mr Stoddard was often called upon to carry out maintenance work and odd jobs around the church.
“He always gave of himself and never asked for anything in return,” Mr Nowak told the Christian newspaper.
There’s only one problem with that attribution. It’s from the half of the story that Swaine “borrowed” not from the Chronicle but from the Arizona Daily Star (which also received no credit either in the original version or the revised one). In defense of Swaine and his newspaper, I would suspect that if your practice is to “borrow” information from other media sources and not credit them (deja vu, anyone?), it can be difficult to remember exactly where the information came from if someone calls you on it.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times has a nice story out today from a reporter who visited the Stoddards’ church. You can read it here or perhaps find a chunk of it at The Telegraph site later.