Thursday, September 11, 2008

All You Ever Wanted to Know about Music City (Except for Proper Attribution to Local Blogs)

I constantly link the Tennessean whenever I post news that comes from their site. But they may not be too interested in returning the favor.

From their visits registered on my statcounter I could deduce what prompted their version of the story of prejudice at WilliamsonTNGOP. So, couldn't they have at least mentioned that this story was discovered by bloggers? The details have been sitting on a political website for two months and they sure as shootin' did not find it themselves, yet the Tennessean writer Harriet Vaughan reports without reference to any other source. You could almost believe that she scooped it herself.

And then there is "Nashvillest" a local journalism blog that claims that it encompasses "everything you want to know about Music City," including where to go to vote for them for Nashville Scene's Best Local Blog. Christy Frink and Morgan Levy, who run Nashvillest, conveyed the WilliamsonTNGOP story and linked News 2. No big deal. Right? I mean at least they're linking and not acting like they broke the story. Coverage and publicity of the story with some attribution is a merit unto itself. No worries.

EXCEPT, that they bothered to also link my Enclave screen shot of the WilliamsonTNGOP website showing Grindstaff's picture and his reference to 8,000 Kurds. That tells me two things. One is that they knew I got to this story on Monday, well before the mainstream media, and still they refused proper attribution alongside News 2. There is no indication on the webpage holder of the screenshot that it was published on Enclave; you can't get to Enclave from the page holder itself. The other thing it tells me is that they did not have the same regard for me that they show others who take shots and get credit at Nashvillest. In fact, they even attributed a photograph in the same post on WilliamsonTNGOP to the source. What is up with that?

These writers may be technically ethical in linking and writing without proper attribution, but to do so is at least bad form. And Nashvillest has another thing coming if they think that this local blogger would ever collude in their shameless self-promotion. There's just something twisted about writing a blog and failing to link bloggers that makes calling yourself "Nashville's Best Local Blog" arbitrary and caprious. But I'm sure that they've Twittered their friends enough to put them over the top.

UPDATE:  The Nashvillest editors reply:
When we're rounding up stories for our morning posts, we do our best to link our readers to the original source. When we saw the Kurdish story pop up from WKRN on our RSS reader, we tried finding the original article on the GOP site to link but couldn't find it. Figuring they'd already scrubbed it, we did a quick Google search and found the screen shot. We were running behind (we have full-time jobs and are usually writing 6-7 posts per day before work or over lunch breaks) and didn't think to throw in a credit. We're still new at this and we definitely make mistakes. For what it's worth, we've added the credit and apologize for the confusion it caused. In the few months that we've been running the blog, we've had a couple of stories ripped off by local publications and not credited and we know it sucks. It's never our intention to do it to other bloggers. If you poke around the site a bit, you'll see that we're all about attribution whether it's a blog post, a story, a picture, or a tip. We're also huge supporters of the local blogging community, as all of our readers well know.

That said, we feel like your response was as unnecessary as it was unwarranted. We made a mistake that could have easily been remedied in a professional manner had you emailed us or left us a comment rather than publicly accusing us of maliciously taking material and refusing to credit the source. And to publish an entire post suggesting that we run our site on stolen material before bothering to contact us is bad form on your part. 

And with regards to the "shameless self-promotion" accusation, we're part of a community. We ask for support in Best of Nashville because we're proud of what we do and we want to share it and grow it. We're also proud of our friends, and that's why we ask our readers in the same post to support them too. We also feel like the Scene has a great thing going with this contest each year and are happy to send as much traffic their way as we can.

As long-time readers and fans of Enclave, we apologize for the oversight, but are honestly pretty shocked at the lack of professionalism in this post. We do our best to keep it friendly around here, but things like this need to be addressed.

Best regards,

Christy Frink
Editor & Cofounder

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