It is time for big media to give credit to non-traditional media and blogs (and each other) when they re-write stories. Here is a current example. Last Saturday, Dagens Nyheter had a short piece about the possibility that a programmer at SL (Stockholm Transport) had hidden a code in the journey planner on www.sl.se with the effect that a search between the stations “dödsknark” (death drugs) and “dödlig mat” (deadly food) would result in a trip from McDonald’s to McDonald’s.
This story was published on IT publication Computer Sweden‘s webpage on Sept 13, but DN made no reference to the source. And it turns out that the story was originally (?) posted on Sept 11 on the web site Buzz, run by internet consultants Bazooka. Computer Sweden made no reference to the source, i.e. Buzz. And there’s just no way that these two papers can have come up with this story without reading Buzz, or getting a tip of course (but a search on Google for “dödsknark” and “dödlig mat” links directly to Buzz). So either they’ve left out the source on purpose, or they just haven’t searched the web for the story.
Today, in the era of participatory journalism, a fine way of turning the grassroots against you is to nick their stories without giving credit. Eventually this has to stop. An idea is worth as much, no matter who came up with it.
Weird fact #1: this wasn’t a conspiracy from a programmer, but an unexpected feature on the web site, which suggest names of stations if you type in the wrong name. A search on terms like “smuggelsprit“, the web site suggest station “Sergels Torg”. More examples on IDG.se.
Weird fact #2: Bazooka, who runs Buzz, recently finished working on the website of the Swedish Union of Journalists.