Friday, July 18, 2008

Digital Piggybacking: BBC Versus The Independent, social media ethics

Two days ago, the Independent (newspaper) broke a huge story in a triple page spread about a number of resturaunts and eateries denying their staff a basic wage by using the "tip" system to bolster their pay packet.

This morning the BBC's, Today programme, revealed what sounded like an exclusive. The report, a look at the Hard Rock Cafe's tipping/basic pay to staff.


Could well be.

However as a former broadcaster, I can see how I'd have picked up the Indies Report and attempt to deliver the equivalent broadcast package and I'd most likely not refer to the paper, unless that is I couldn't stand up the report.

But in today's social media 2.0 climate should an outfit refer to another if it's been the source of its report i.e. attribution?

In many cases news producers do, at times they don't and it was this coupled with the BBC's move to very local news coverage (which has been given the green light recently) that prompted UK regional newspapers to pick up video journalism.

Why wait for the broadcaster, any broadcaster to turn around your exclusive, when you can do it yourself?

So should the Indie take some credit and does it matter whether it's a public service body or commercial outfit in competition.

The Indie by the way doesn't do video journalism at the moment, otherwise their expose would also have made for a strong broadcast package

Online, a link to and reference of the Indie's piece adds value to the host as well as the recipient.

But the broadcast environment do old habits prevail?

If it is plaintively obvious, but can't be proved, should there be a code of ethics for digital piggybacking ?

Incidentally, in my own digital piggybacking of a BBC programme, 'The Trouble with Black Men' I stated from the start how I produced my report.

But then again I had less to lose.

I'll post a video of a report from the Telegraph's head of multimedia, which should prove interesting and perhaps shed some light on an old practice in today's media.

1 comment:

Cliff said...

That's the problem with the majority of TV news types - it's well known that the first thing they do in the morning is scan the newspapers for story ideas. It's why I view broadcast news with such cynicism - it has more times than not been a parasite on what I believe is the true form of journalism - those print journalists who beat the streets and get involved with their communities and readership - something TV cannot - and/or typically will not - do.

Detractors abound on the issue of print journo's moving to video - The TV shoulder mount shooters should be worried. Both you and Michael Rosenblum are proving as you well know, that those who work in print are making huge inroads into visual story telling with video that surpasses the vast majority of the broadcast VJ Elite - and doing so with what is viewed as "toy equipment".

Derisive comments abound for anyone who thinks outside the GOB club. Trailblazers like yourself and Michael are doing those aspiring solovj's like myself a world of good. You both have pulled the veil back and shown it can be done - and done well - with far less than the exclusive members of the broadcast VJ crowd would want others to know.

There should be a code of ethics and it should be enforced heavily - I believe it will flush out the TV journo's for what they truly are - and by the nature of enforcement within the industry - force them to actually begin working at what they say they do - as true journalists.