Somebody owes the Inquirer's Bob Moran an apology.
No, not somebody: Steve Keeley owes Bob Moran an apology.
For nearly a half-hour, as the verdicts in the Vince Fumo corruption trial rolled in earlier, the Fox29 reporter stood on the street in front of the courthouse reading Moran's liveblog from inside the courtroom, which was streaming on philly.com. Without ever actually attributing his "source," Keeley repeatedly leaned over for a closer look at his laptop, which was perched on the hood of a car to his left, reading details word-for-word on the air. The words popped up on screen, then *poof*! popped right out of Keeley's mouth, just like magic.
Twice, anchor Sheinelle Jones -- possibly hearing me screeching straight across the Twitterverse about the plagiarism-in-progress that was happening -- did try to clarify that the station was getting information from Philly.com. But only once once did Keeley haltingly point out he was reading from philly.com and he couldn't be bothered to say it was Moran's work, despite the fact that every update on the liveblog started with the words "Robert Moran:" That kind of obfuscation takes work, people.
Now that we're all finished debating whether Jon Stewart's a journalist, how about we start asking whether our journalists are journalists. It shouldn't be for me to defend the Inquirer's honor, but the paper pays my husband's salary so one could say it's out of sheer self-interest that I'm picking this bone. Then again, you could say it's because I'm a blogger who's frankly sick of hearing how bloggers are ripping off the newspapers. At least bloggers give the courtesy of a link. Or if you like, say I'm angry as someone who's trying to teach journalism students that they're committing their lives to a worthy profession, one with, y'know, rules and ethics and whatnot.
Does belated, half-assed attribution excuse Fox29 from ripping off the newspaper's reporting even as it was happening? And why have an anchor then keep going back to Keeley asking for more info when she could have been checking the liveblog herself right from the desk?
I know, I know, you're wondering why I'm getting all bothered by the quality of local TV news -- what am I expecting, right? Simple: I actually like Fox29's news operation and appreciate especially how they've embraced Twitter and used it to connect with their audience. They asked for feedback, and to their credit, they paid attention. Well, Sheinelle did, anyway.