New Editor Drops F-Bomb In Email When Questioned About Story Copying
BY: ANDREW COLTON | EDITOR AND PUBLISHER
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BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Palm Beach Post Editor Rick Christie accidentally copied BocaNewsNow.com on an internal, expletive filled email Saturday concerning The Post’s continued lifting of BocaNewsNow.com articles without attribution.
“This just strikes me as such BS.” wrote Palm Beach Post Editor Rick Christie to one of his assistant editors when we questioned the paper’s practice of taking our work. “You can’t own a fucking story just because you reported something on it first a month or two ago. What’s going to be next, years?”
At issue: multiple stories broken by BocaNewsNow.com, then used as source material by the Palm Beach Post without attribution days or weeks later. It’s unclear why the Post, a newspaper owned by mega-company Gannett (NYSE: GCI), needs to report news days or weeks after it’s already been reported. In a region rich with news that needs reporting, utilizing limited resources to produce reruns seems like a poor choice.
The latest: a story concerning a federal judge refusing to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit against the Seven Bridges Homeowners Association in West Delray Beach. BocaNewsNow.com reported the story on December 16th, when the judge issued the ruling. But when Palm Beach Post freelance reporter Mike Diamond reported the story on January 16th, a full month later, there was no reference to the source of the report. The Palm Beach Post, inexplicably, reported it as if it was new news, not stale news that had been broken by another outlet 30 days earlier.
The incident follows several others, including a lawsuit involving Palmetto Place, the Boca Raton Condo being sued by a COVID-positive couple for false imprisonment. BocaNewsNow.com broke the story on December 28th. But the Palm Beach Post — and again freelance reporter Mike Diamond — reported the story without attribution on January 5th. It, too, was reported as “new” news, not something already reported a week earlier.
On December 6th, BocaNewsNow.com reported exclusively that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes — presiding over the “masking” lawsuit — was himself unmasked at a Palm Beach County Bar Association event. BocaNewsNow.com was later cited as the primary source of information in a motion seeking the judge to recuse himself. But The Palm Beach Post neglected to include that information when it ran a story later in the month. When questioned, then-editor Nicholas Moschella apologized and amended the story with attribution. We parted as friends.
But with Moschella since retired, it’s Rick Christie and his expletive-laden emails setting a new tone for the Palm Beach Post, a tone we wonder if Gannett has resorted to amidst falling subscription and circulation rates.
We understand that it must be difficult riding a dinosaur in a world full of Teslas. BocaNewsNow.com logged more than 15-Million pageviews in 2020 and we are free, lean and effective. We are syndicated by all of the major news aggregators — many pay for our content. But for readers, did we mention we are free? A print subscription to the Post will run you $31 a month, apparently for material you’ve already read here.
What is sad for us is that we, like the Post, and presumably Rick Christie, love journalism. Infighting only detracts from reporting the facts. But this fact can’t be ignored: copying someone else’s work without attribution is something even a second grader knows to be wrong. Certainly the Palm Beach Post — and Gannett — have policies to prevent employees from engaging in copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. It’s one thing if four reporters show up at the same story at the same time. It is something else if a news organization reports someone else’s work a week or a month later. Most credible news operations routinely credit other operations. It’s the code of the road.
We look forward to the Palm Beach Post ceasing its questionable policies promptly, so we can all focus on bettering the community with first rate enterprise reporting.
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