EVERYBODY in journalism, from top to bottom, understands that a quote or two might be lifted here and there as a story is hauled up the food chain. Nobody is naive to think otherwise. One or two quotes.
But The Daily Telegraph stretched this principle of give and take and turned it into journo eats journo cannabialism with their page 5 lead on Saturday about Camden Council asking bankers in Hampstead for voluntary contributions.
This is the third most prominent page in the Telegraph – and yet all of the quotes are simply scalpeled from the Camden New Journal‘s front page last week. Not one of the quotes is unique. Of course, maybe the writer who recreated the story spoke to exactly the same people as I did –and those people gave exactly the same quotes, word for word. Yeah, maybe that happened. Click copy, click paste, may also of happened.
Two things. One: a little ‘told the New Journal’ would be classier when you are stretching the one or two quote lift convention. Two: It must be a worry for us – writers and readers – that a paper with such a long history and importance in the industry can print a story like this on page 5 without making their own calls to Theo, Tulip, Andrew and Keith. They aren’t hard to get hold of. If I was the editor, it’d be the least I’d expect.
Hey ho – we’ve been here before.