when news isn’t news

I have to admit I was a bit surprised today when I read in my local newspaper something that sounded, well, VERY familiar.

To be honest, the story isn’t something most people even care about. But when I noticed the headline on the homepage of the newspaper’s site, I clicked on it, interested to see how the story was reported, if there were photos of my “friend of a friend,” and if there was anything new.

I was surprised and a bit saddened to find, well, nothing I hadn’t already read.

In fact, I’d already read the story almost word-for-word. In a press release. Written by said “friend of a friend.” Sent to me days earlier in an e-mail.

Yes. That’s right. The story in said newspaper is almost exactly what I already read.

Hmm.

But where this gets interesting is the fact that there at the top of the page is a photo and byline from a certain reporter. A certain reporter I KNOW clearly did NO REPORTING to get this story.

Can you say copy/paste?

I can.

I’d like to see some harder hitting stories. I’d like to read stories that genuinely were reported. Written from the heart.

If our paid reporters at the state’s largest newspaper are COPYING and PASTING from press releases, then putting their byline on the story, what does that say to the state of journalism? How is this helping the industry’s current situation? Newspapers are dying. It sucks. But if this is the type of reporting we are going to get … well, I say … DIE, DIE, DIE. And I don’t want that to happen. I really, really, REALLY don’t.

But we expect more. We demand more.

When I was making a fuss about this earlier, my oldest was asking me what the deal was. Why I was so mad. Why dad and I were combing over both stories and making comments about the similarities (READ: LIFTED COPY). I had to explain it to him. Told him it wasn’t right. His reaction: “Yeah, that’s dumb. Why would you want to read the same thing two times?”

Ha. Yeah. Even he gets it.

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