UT first credits SD Rostra for scoop on Supervisor’s race … then deletes the reference

Thor's Assistant Rostra Administrator (Thor's Assistant) 22 Comments


Five days ago Jim Sills broke a story here on Rostra that Santee activist Rudy Reyes would again challenge County Supervisor Dianne Jacob in 2012.

In a story two days later, Union-Tribune reporter Michele Clock initially credited SD Rostra for the newsbeat, per this summary sent from “Google Alerts”…

County supervisor races start to shape up  – San Diego Union Tribune – “The political website San Diego Rostra reported Santee’s Rudy Reyes has also filed initial paperwork to run for the same seat.”

When we checked at the U-T website by clicking on the direct Google link, however, the Rostra reference had been removed, leaving local readers with the impression the story was a U-T original, with this revised wording…

“The county Registrar of Voters office has also received initial paperwork from Santee’s Rudy Reyes expressing his intention to run
for the same seat.”

Conjecture would say that the reporter’s inclusion of the Rostra credit in the on-line story was subsequently axed by an editor.  Yet, for whatever reason, the unwillingness of the UT and much of the mainstream media to acknowledge the new media remains puzzling. If we are good enough to do their legwork, we should be good enough to receive due credit.

Just sayin’.


Google proof of the initial reference

The final UT story


Comments 22

  1. Traditional media rarely credits other traditional media, either. It’s not about snobbery, it’s about competition. If the reporter can re-report the story, they do. TV and radio have been ripping stories out of newspapers without attribution for decades.

  2. Where’s that other City Beat guy who has a fit if anybody
    mentions anything he’s ever said or written with crediting
    him by name? Maybe he and Eric Wolff can compare
    notes. Radio stations KOGO and KCBQ routinely start
    local news stories with “The San Diego Union Tribune
    reported today”. And if it is standard practice, why did the
    U-T first tip their hats to SD Rostra and then delete it?

  3. Those radio stations say that routinely because they don’t have reporters to re-report the story, it has nothing to do with credit. They cite the U-T so they bear no responsibility if it’s wrong. KPBS also will cite newspaper stories if they can’t re-report, but they’ll drop the credit if they independently confirm the essential facts.

    I can offer two hypotheses as to why the credit was removed from the U-T story:

    1) The U-T’s current policy is to let reporters publish directly to the web. Maybe Clock put in the credit and an editor later stripped it out for competitive reasons

    2) In her first post, Clock had not yet confirmed Mills’ facts and so had to cite Mills as her source. When she confirmed the facts, she or her editor took out the citation.

  4. Reagan’s Ghost –

    You must be talking about me. Appropriately enough, I sit in the chair formerly occupied by Eric Wolff.

    Since I’ve been at CityBeat, we’ve credited and shouted-out to Rostra and its writers regularly.

    From my very first story, I’ve battled with the U-T over crediting other publications. When Light took over, he agreed that the crediting policy would change–and for the most part it has.

    I can’t speak for the U-T, but my guess is that the first version was before they had confirmation and had to use Rostra as the source. Then, once they had confirmation from the registrar, they felt citing the “break” was unnecessary since it was simply a public record.

    Dave Maass

  5. I wish the U-T would say whether its policy allows such retroactive airbrushing without even an explanation. How many other stories has this been done to? How extensive must such memory-holing be before the U-T will note that a change has been made?

    If this was just the unapproved action of a (presumably very insecure) editor, the U-T should also tell us, in the interests of transparency.

    I applaud SD CityBeat’s enlightened credit policy.

  6. Post

    Thanks, we appreciate everyone’s input on this. We are also aware of the usual MSM MO in this regard and understand the reasons. We hope we are all agreed, however, that credit should be given, and our goal here is to always strive for it when we are referencing another media entity. In this instance, it was unique from the usual MSM lack of credit, in that credit was initially given, then removed. Thus the focus on it.

  7. You want to talk about lack of attribution? NC Times this week.

    A few weeks back, CityBeat ran a pretty labor-intensive investigation into Bernard Goldstein, Gadzhi Makhachev and Wikileaks.

    We credited North County Times by name for certain pieces of information that helped fill out the piece.

    North County Times turns around and reports our findings, citing generic “news reports.” To this day, we’re the only ones who reported on it.

  8. Just curious. Why is Rudy Reyes running for anything even news? How many different offices has he ran for and lost?

  9. Post

    He may have little — if any — chance, but political news is what we do here. Any challenge against a sitting Supe is news, even if what makes it newsworthy is that the only opposition that can be mustered against DJ is RR. 😉

  10. Larry Urdahl always asks relevant questions!

    Rudy Reyes has a compelling personal story
    because of the injuries he suffered in the Cedar
    Mountain fire, and his resulting desire to see
    improvements made to fire protection service.
    The County Supervisors have taken action on
    this front, and God willing, there will be no repeat
    of that awful disaster.

  11. What??????? I’m running again???

    I thought that disease was in remission. I’m always the last one to know.

    Is Jacobs apopletic about this? Don’t I have to first move into her district to run?

  12. I’m the Union-Tribune editor who made the change. Michele Clock confirmed the information with the registrar and we revised the story and dropped the reference to SDRostra because it then didn’t seem that relevant. My mistake. It didn’t seem like a big thing, but perhaps I’m wrong.
    Actually, we were going to wait to report that nugget until we confirmed on our own, but we decided to go with it and credit you folks. Like I said, we should have kept it.
    Sorry for taking so long to respond.

  13. Post

    The initials RR should have been retired years ago from the SD political scene, but since they have not been, then in this case they were meant to refer to relative newcomer Rudy Reyes, not stellar old-timer Richard Rider. Contrary to the views of some, it is not just about Richard. 😉

  14. Post

    Mr. Smolens’ message and acknowledgment means a lot…and we appreciate it. Like a good manager that screams bloody murder even when the umpire’s call will not be changed, we only hope to influence future calls. Thanks to the UT for responding.

  15. Jim, I wouldn’t say his “story” is compelling. The fires affected many, many people. His other favorite topic at board meetings is pot, which should be enough to clinch his endorsement from CityBeat. On the phone without a microphone and TV cameras, he can listen and be reasonable. Otherwise, he comes across as a complete nut spouting off about issues he doesn’t know enough about to manage a single, legitimate debate. He’s run against Supervisor Jacob enough times to be laughable. Its a shame such unqualified masochists insist on running for office over and over – sheer waste of time and ink.

  16. Post
  17. Post

    You know how many believed that Woodward and Bernstein’s “Deep Throat” wasn’t just one person, but a simplified version for book’s sake of a number of different sources? It could be that Thor is more than one person, each sharing responsibility for monitoring and providing assistance on Rostra.

    And, you know how a few years ago the true identity of Deep Throat was determined and confirmed; that he really was a lone person?

    Maybe that too.

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