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Friday, February 09, 2007

Columbus Dispatch: Pirating A Blogger's Sea Story?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Oh fiddle-dee-dee. A pirate's life for me. Is that Disney's ditty playing in the Columbus Dispatch newsroom these days? The newspaper seems to have dived into Davey Jones locker and resurfaced with this PEARL, a tale of lost ships that originally appeared in The Daily Bellwether in mid-January.

Those intrepid journalistic buccaneers at the Dispatch gave the news about side scan sonar being used to track down Lake Erie's shipwrecks ( a story that it told excellently, well written and well reported) a big ride. You can read a version that was picked up and circulated on The Associated Press wire
HERE. But it was a work of skull and crossbones journalism -- the idea for the piece appears to be lifted from this blog. Not the wording, but the idea.

Was there no thought, apparently, to give credit. Is the law of the sea story purloin or perish?

For days, there were there signals the pirates in Columbus were under sail. You could catch sight of "" taking in pageviews on the Sitemeter. And, isn't this a coincidence? The Bellwether sea story ends with a bit about the Marquette and Bessemer No. 2, a ship that disappeared in December 1909. Its whereabouts remain the biggest mystery on Lake Erie to this day.

And how does the Dispatch version of the tale end. Eerily similar. "In December 1909, the Marquette and Bessemer No. 2, a 300-foot ferry loaded with railroad cars full of coal, left Conneaut in a gale for Port Stanley. The ferry was never heard from again."

The difference between blogging and journalism is this: Bloggers largely seem to be addicted to the notion that one gives credit where credit is due. Some journalists seem to be mired in the era of Count Swen Leats I. Count Swen Leats I was a sting pulled on newspapers years ago. Spell his name backwards and it comes out "I Steal News."

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