When Moonshine Ink reporter Melissa Siig’s March 25 story, Homewood Switching Gears, broke the news about Homewood ski resort turning semi-private, it didn’t take long before others caught wind. Online outlets like Snow Brains, Unofficial Networks, and Active Norcal all released their own versions of the story — our story. Even industry publication Ski Area Management Magazine released an article based on Moonshine’s piece.
News agencies reporting on what their peer outlets are reporting is nothing new. You often hear on television news broadcasts segments beginning with phrases like, “The Associated Press is reporting…” But that’s just it — these broadcasting companies give credit where credit is due: right up front. If a news agency is going to share what another is reporting, it should be disclosed from the get-go, not buried paragraphs down in the text.
In its writing, Snow Brains attributed information to Ski Area Management Magazine. Should a reader click on the hyperlink in the attribution, however, it was linked to a part of the story in which the information in the SAM magazine article was attributed to “local news outlets.” That would be “local news outlet” Moonshine Ink. A direct quote from source Art Chapman, which was directly obtained by Moonshine reporter Melissa Siig, was regurgitated without proper attribution.
Even the esteemed San Francisco Chronicle — which reported the Homewood story a full two weeks after Moonshine first broke the news — merely credited “a Tahoe area news outlet” for first publishing the details. If our coverage is worthy of hijacking, at least call us by name. I guess we’re supposed to be thankful they at least linked to our story …
If our dedicated reporters are doing the legwork, putting in hours on end making phone calls, chasing down interviews, writing and rewriting, they should be given proper credit.
Moonshine publisher Mayumi Elegado reached out to these entities to express our concerns. We were impressed by the genuine responses we received and the willingness to amend the reporting in question without hesitation.
While the average reader likely wouldn’t pay much mind to this, any journalist worth his or her salt knows the importance of obtaining information firsthand. Reporters are human and even though we strive for perfection, none of us is perfect and mistakes can and do happen. Relying on the accuracy of others’ reporting is a gamble, opening the door for the spread of misinformation. Much like the child’s play game of telephone, things can get lost in translation; mistakes can be re-reported over and over, eventually erroneously taken as fact.
And this, dear readers, is where Moonshine, er, shines brightest. Every edition of Moonshine Ink is the product of literally hundreds of combined hours of labor. When you pick up an issue of Moonshine Ink, you can be confident that our reporters and editors have done their due diligence in the process leading up to press time. Our reporters don’t just scratch the surface, we dig deep into the depths of the nitty gritty, often pissing off people in the process. But that’s why what we do is so important. We ask the questions that others are afraid to put out there, sometimes at the risk of losing advertisers. We hold officials and entities accountable because if we’re not going to ask the tough questions, who will?
And that accountability doesn’t end with the topics Moonshine covers. We hold ourselves equally accountable. That’s why every original reporting news article you read in Moonshine Ink is thoroughly vetted and fact checked. If a mistake is made, it’s on us and we take whatever measures are necessary to correct genuinely the erroneous information. We undoubtedly strive for perfection but we, too, are human and occasionally mistakes can happen. Just know that we put forth our best effort in preventing such.
Given the instantaneous speed of the flow of information these days, and the often limited manpower with which they’re operating, it’s impossible for all news agencies to keep up with every news story. However, in order to maintain journalistic integrity — and simply respect the hard work of others — let’s give credit where credit is due.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery … but at what cost?