Joho the Blog » attribution

May 28, 2012

[2b2k] Attribution isn’t just about credit. It’s about networking knowledge.

David Kay pointed out to me a piece by Arthur Brisbane, the NY Times Public Editor. In it Arthur deals with a criticism of a NYT article that failed to acknowledge the work of prior journalists and investigators (“uncredited foundational reporting”) that led to the NYT story. For example, Hella Winston at The Jewish Week told Arthur:

The lack of credit stings. “You get so much flak — these are difficult stories,” Ms. Winston told me, “People come down on you.” The Times couldn’t have found all its sources among victims and advocates by itself, she added: “You wouldn’t have known they existed, you wouldn’t have been able to talk to them, if we hadn’t written about them for years.”

But, as David Kay points out, this is not just about giving credit. As the piece says about the Poynter Institute‘s Kelly McBride:

[McBride] struck another theme, echoed by other ethics experts: that providing such credit would have enabled readers to find other sources of information on the subject, especially through online links.

Right. It’s about making the place smarter by leaving traceable tracks of the ideas one’s post brings together. It’s about building networks of knowledge.

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