Bloggers beat big media #2

My friend and former colleague Magnus Ljungkvist has done some journalistic digging regarding Sweden’s new Minister for Trade, Maria Borelius. She confessed that she had hired a cleaing woman in the 90’s without paying the proper payroll taxes. Borelius claimed that she otherwise shouldn’t have afforded to pay for the services. The story broke on Saturday and yesterday Magnus published his blog post about the matter where he reveals that Borelius in fact had a much higher income than the average Swedish woman. He updated his investigation later the same day by adding the income for Borelius husband which clearly reveals that their income during the decade totalled more than 16 million kronor.

His investigative reporting immediately gained positive responses in the blogosphere. But mainstream media weren’t interested in his sensational findings. Magnus told me that he had pitched the story to Aftonbladet who had declined to report about it.

But today, Expressen is pretending that they have the scoop of the week when they write about the same topic, one day later than Magnus.

“Expressen kan i dag avslöja att Maria Borelius och hennes man tillsammans tjänade över 16 miljoner kronor under 1990-talet.”

“Expressen today reveals that Maria Borelius and her husband earned more than 16 million kronor during the 1990’s.”

And other media were quick to follow suit (1, 2, 3 and 4 to take some examples). LO-tidningen re-writes the story without crediting either Magnus or Expressen (!)

There are two possible scenarios.

1) Reporters at Expressen read Magnus’ post and stole his story without giving him credit.
2) Expressen were already working on the same story but Magnus beat them to the scoop, proving that bloggers can fill a vital roll in investigative journalism, sometimes even better than MSM.

Either way, credit where credit’s due. This was a scoop from the blogosphere and none of the mainstream media noticed this fact, or worse, noticed and ignored it. Maybe it’s time that news editors update their RSS feeds subscriptions (if they have any).

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