FTW Media

Thoughts about New/Social Media

How online and print treat source materials differently

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During the G20 demonstrations, a man named Ian Tomlinson died after being assaulted by the police.

The video of this attack was first published by The Guardian via its website. It was soon picked up by other news media, online and offline.

The interesting (and surprising) thing is that the online guys were more willing to credit The Guardian than the offline guys.

Who says the online tendency is to violate copyright and that the offline one is to respect copyright?

Internet consultant Martin Belam explains the phenomenon.

So the interesting question is why there is such a big difference in the approach taken online and in print. Online the majority of the serious papers were unstinting in linking to and crediting The Guardian, whereas in print there was a much greater reluctance.

Partly it is the nature of the medium. Users on the web are much more promiscuous with their news viewing habits, and know that there are a range of different sites out there. Furthermore, to not link to the original source of a story is considered bad manners on the web, and net-savvy journalists and production staff will tend to link out as a ‘digital native’ instinct.

I also think it is a cultural output of being in a traditional media business. In print, you don’t really want to give your readers any excuse to alter their purchasing choice. Especially not by pointing out that a rival had a massive scoop, even as you are required to follow their setting of the day’s news agenda.


Written by Oon Yeoh

April 21, 2009 at 2:01 am

Posted in New Media

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