MeFi -> Wired February 21, 2002 10:28 PM   Subscribe

What's the deal with Wired? And now it looks like they are using MetaFilter as a source for stories. Note the dates in the following examples:
1(MeFi, Wired), 2(MeFi, Wired), and 3(MeFi, Wired). In example 3, they even link
to the same government pdf document. Or maybe they're just following tpoh.org around.
posted by insomnyuk to MetaFilter-Related at 10:28 PM (24 comments total)

That being said, I could be wrong, maybe this is all just a grand coincidence, and I'm making something from nothing. In light of that possiblity, submissions in the search for proof of this accusation are welcome, as well as anything that would disprove it.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:28 PM on February 21, 2002


There was one writer that used to write for them that did this quite often. There was even a nickname for him, the "wired guy that reads blogs and uses them for story leads." And people who ran weblogs knew who he was, but he would often credit the place he found information.

I joked in the last thread that it'd be nice if Wired paid some small fee (to be passed onto the person making the original post) when they get a good story, and free research (like additional links and ideas) out of this site. If MetaFilter weren't around, would these stories have hit Wired News? (or it'd be nice if they mentioned MetaFilter if that's their source).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:41 PM on February 21, 2002


I read the Sydney Morning Herald online every day and there's a section called "Spike" that has unusual or odd items. It never fails to amaze me when I see something posted there 24 hours after I see it on MetaFilter. Could be a coincidence, but I wouldn't doubt if major publications follow various weblogs around for news.
posted by cyniczny at 11:04 PM on February 21, 2002


You guys are living in a small world. None of these stories break on metafilter, I remember seeing at least one of those elsewhere. Exactly what is wrong with reading blogs to get ideas? Bloggers read the same AP/Reuters stuff everyone else reads and get the same chain emails everyone else gets.

I also don't understand the mentality behind sites owning links. If something is on fark, then its a fark link, regardless that its been in my inbox for two weeks or that its an AP article. When someone mentions that link here its a 'fark link.' Sorry no one owns links.

The same goes for metafilter. Just because it ends up here doesn't mean its the source, and even if it was I'd rather see credit go towards the people who made the site we're linking to instead of twenty via this, via that, via this, via that in the story.

When I watch the daily show I usually think to myself, "hey I just read about that" not "they totally stole that from bob's weblog, he should sue."
posted by skallas at 11:20 PM on February 21, 2002


I've notice my local news stations talking about stories I've read several days before on Metafilter. AND the Weekly World News (Feb. 19, 2002) has a bunch of stories I've already read on Metafilter. I don't know how we missed Bat Boy jailed in Argentina though.
posted by sadie01221975 at 11:31 PM on February 21, 2002


some people credit metafilter. (Wear your anti-Enronism)
posted by rebeccablood at 11:31 PM on February 21, 2002


Has anyone tried emailing the author of the stories?
posted by Doug at 11:39 PM on February 21, 2002


The second example is an AP wire story.
posted by jennak at 12:05 AM on February 22, 2002


In the UK, Teamtalk was suspected of trawling league
football club fan sites for transfer rumours. It got so bad that eventually, the Barnet webpage printed a completely untrue rumour - and it duly appeared on Teamtalk.
posted by salmacis at 1:29 AM on February 22, 2002


We have to face facts - a lot of NEWS comes from the NEWS feeds, and a lot of SITES come from widespread net MEMEs. If it shows up on MeFi, likelihood is it's shown up several places elsewhere (thus the FILTER).

But, hell, I'll take commission.
posted by Neale at 4:34 AM on February 22, 2002


I know for a fact that a couple of NPR producers read MetaFilter.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:51 AM on February 22, 2002


I received a gift Playboy subscription, and in the last year, almost every story in their News of the Weird equivalent was a blog favorite three months before or had come from Blogdex (once it became well-known).
posted by mischief at 4:56 AM on February 22, 2002


So what you're saying, mischief, is you only read Playboy for the blog articles?
posted by rory at 5:34 AM on February 22, 2002


Blogjammin'
posted by Kafkaesque at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2002


There ought to be a way to bury some little mini-meme in posts here so that we can tell when they show up elsewhere. Kind of a little radioisotope tracer or watermark for ideas.
posted by rodii at 8:59 AM on February 22, 2002


When I watch the daily show I usually think to myself, "hey I just read about that" not "they totally stole that from bob's weblog, he should sue."

Actually, I think that sometimes, especially since a somewhat-active member here stated that they work as a writer for the daily show.

The thing I don't like about this is that Wired News and TDS are businesses, and they're benefitting from the thousands of monkeys typing into typewriters on free sites such as this one.

If a journalist is getting paid to write stories, and uses this site as a way to get leads, sources, and basically outline their story, don't they feel guilty about benefitting from the work of others?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2002


Uh, Matt? That's what journalists do. Find stories, research them, and write them. You should feel prud that MeFi is relevant enough to become a source.

A good journalist will get a lead somewhere (like here) and then do their own original research, come up with their own angle, and make the story original. A bad one will just lift quotes and go to press. Same as it ever was.

Don't worry, journalists rip each other off for ideas far more than they rip off bloggers.
posted by fraying at 11:05 AM on February 22, 2002


I know for a fact that a couple of NPR producers read MetaFilter.


Oh ,great. After that Gene Simmons/Terry Gross discussion, they've probably put a hit on me.
posted by jonmc at 11:05 AM on February 22, 2002


'Shit weasels' will be on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me in two weeks or less, you watch.

Charlie Pierce: "That Yasser! What a Sh-(beep) Weasel!"
Rest Of Gang : guffaws
Caller : "Huh?"
posted by dong_resin at 11:42 AM on February 22, 2002


That's what journalists do. Find stories, research them, and write them.

I'm saying in some cases, MetaFilter does 2/3 of those duties. People find the stories, then research them and post accompanying things they find from google, and a writer comes along and writes it based on that work. They're professionals doing it for money, people here are doing it for fun, but getting "used" in a small way by these professionals. Granted, in the grand scheme of things this isn't very bad, but if I were a writer, I'd certainly feel guilty about getting all this free research.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2002


And I'd suggest that you're giving too much credit to the bloggers, and too little to the work that real journalism takes.

Which is not to say that bad journalism hasn't encouraged this dim view - there are certainly journalists out there who aren't doing enough original work. But most, I believe, do all the heavy lifting themselves.

And as for the "doing it for money" issue, do you know how little most journalists get paid? And besides, there's no ownership of a story idea. Bloggers and journalists alike are all just conduits in the spreading of ideas. Nobody owns the ideas - that's what's great about them.
posted by fraying at 1:42 PM on February 22, 2002


I believe it was SF writer Larry Niven who said that if you give him an idea for a wildly successful story, the most he owes you is a beer.
posted by kindall at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2002


And besides, there's no ownership of a story idea. Bloggers and journalists alike are all just conduits in the spreading of ideas. Nobody owns the ideas - that's what's great about them.

You're right derek, I was just being bitchy about a lack of crediting sources when someone finds something juicy here, that ends up in a story (like that .pdf link from a recent mefi/wired story). I guess it's just that I wish journalists would recognize their sources where appropriate.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:21 PM on February 22, 2002


True, true. Web journalists could learn a thing or two about link attribution from bloggers.
posted by fraying at 5:32 PM on February 24, 2002


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