In what can only be called one of the more hypocritical acts in the history of Nevada journalism, the same folks who once unleashed a rabid cur named Righthaven on the world now are frothing again about their precious content being pilfered.
Indeed, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which almost never credits other journalists for breaking stories and regularly takes content from other organizations, has had the Associated Press send a letter to broadcast outlets invoking a contract privilege to block them from using RJ content found on the wires as of Jan. 24. These are the same folks who, under the "leadership" of then-Publisher Sherman Frederick, hired a company to protect its content, an effort that quickly became a national embarrassment.
I feel badly for business reporter Jennifer Robison, who had to write a story last week about this latest RJ initiative long after it had been broken by other news organizations. Check out that irony, folks!
The letter, which I have posted here, indicates that the AP, and rightly so, thinks its service is a way to share content, not block it: "Generally we encourage sharing among members and give credit to exclusive news within the story so significant stories can be published broadly as a service to the public and a way to build the member's brand," wrote Anthony Marquez, the AP regional chief based in LA. (By the way, I called the AP last week for comment and....got no return call.)
Now, I acknowledge that the RJ's brand is so damaged after the 2010 Kill Reid debacle that maybe it does not want to build it, and it long ago gave up on being a service to the public. But even for the "newspaper," this is an abomination.
My guess is the RJ has a legitimate gripe with some stations -- I bet radio folks read the stuff in the morning newspaper without attribution all the time. But considering the arrogant-without-reason "newspaper" regularly rips off stuff found elsewhere -- its lead political reporter is especially shameless -- and almost never gives other organizations credit, as if it is the paper of record instead of the paper of ridicule, I find this move absolutely reprehensible.
The RJ has some excellent journlaists -- its crime reporters are fantastic. But the patronizing attitude epitomized by the defrocked "editor" and "publisher," in the days before karma felled them after their failed jihad against a certain Senate majority leader, unfortunately persists.
Marquez wrote -- and you could almost sense the apologetic tone in the missive -- that the AP has no choice because of its bylaws but to abide by the RJ's block-our-content request.
I sincerely hope TV and radio stations reciprocate and block their content from being used in the "newspaper" as retaliation. I know of at least one outlet that intends to pursue such a course. If many do, the "newspaper" will just get thinner.
And I say to my journo brethren: If you notice that the RJ has stolen one of your stories without attribution, please let me know. This site will be happy to sound the alarm.