Why isn't it called plagiarism in TV health news?

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“It’s not their story and they’re sticking to it,” is the headline of Florida media critic’s piece on a phenomenon in local TV news that we’ve written about before.

Across the country, on many local TV stations’ health reports, you are being deceived if you think that the “reporter” was actually a “reporter.” He/she may only be putting his/her name on a story produced by an outside company. The St. Pete media critic found at least 9 TV stations that used the exact same story with the exact same wording – with the only difference being that each station stuck their logo on the screen as if they did the piece.

Excerpt of the story:

“In the print world, presenting another outlet’s work as your own without attribution would be called plagiarism. But TV stations often present stories written by other news services or affiliate stations without notifying viewers. …

Many TV professionals say this is a routine practice. TV reporting, after all, is a team sport where producers, camera operators and on-air reporters collaborate to create a single story.

I’ve always felt reports branded with the name of a specific personality are different. There’s an expectation that health reports bearing (a reporter’s) name were actually reported by her — and the fact that stations don’t really identify when their personalities are reading reports developed by a news service, indicates they know this, too.

Critics of this practice say it helps make local TV reporting more generic across the board, with station Web sites and broadcasts across the country featuring the same story within days of each other.

It’s also a further blurring of ethical lines prompted by economics, allowing a single reporter to present more stories in a week than he could possibly research on his own.”


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