Do the big newspaper blogs plagiarize?

(See the update here.)

I regularly read at least two big blogs run by newspapers — Freakonomics at the NY Times and Ideas Market at WSJ. They find a wonderful sampling of things across the web.

What’s interesting: they seldom say where they find their material. The bloggy custom of hat tipping is nearly absent. Once in a while Freakonomics gives a blog hat tip, but (oddly) they never actually hyperlink.

What’s the deal? One guess: the newspapery-blog-powers-that-be don’t want people leaving the site.

Impolite? Yes. Nefarious. Possibly. Plagiarizing? I’d ding my students if they did this so regularly and egregiously.

I have been the “victim” on more than one occasion, but not for some time. I don’t think that’s my motivation for this post. I don’t really care about the traffic. Rather, I see other blogs and sites I like become “victims” about every other week. Now my overdeveloped and misdirected justice and courtesy bones ache every time I read the offending blogs.

Reader thoughts and solutions?

Boycott Ideas Market and Freakonomics?

8 thoughts on “Do the big newspaper blogs plagiarize?

  1. Excellent post. I’ll take it and may or may not give you a hat tip.

    More seriously though, I think the editors of those blogs need to be made aware that the public is unhappy with their policy. Boycotting them will probably be inefficient because you’re unlikely to get the necessary traction to make it a massive one. Massively emailing them might, however.

  2. What really bugs me about this is that it creates a junk information product. If they at least add links people can evaluate the sourcing if they care. I wouldn’t necessarily ascribe ill motives, however. If the writers are used to being academics, print journalists, or any other variety of non-hyperlink writers, linking might not be a habit. Academics, generally very careful about footnotes, tend to drop attribution for op-eds. Perhaps writers view the blogs this way…

  3. Links also enable readers to fact-check the sources. Possibly something the big papers don’t want us to feel we have to do on their pages, but generally a good habit that all websites should encourage. They also save time for those wanting to know more about the topic, and overall support the interlinked strength of the internet.

  4. You might be right that they don’t want people to leave their site, although even the most elementary blogger knows that you just set the link so it opens in a new window. Not crediting is lazy and unprofessional.