Friday, May 03, 2013

How not to do rewrite

If you're going to lift a Shock Horror Outrage story from the competition, be sure you get those pesky details right! Here's the Fair 'n' Balanced lede:

Police in China have smashed a crime ring that sold meat from rats and other animals as rat meat, in a case that left the public disgusted and highlighted the need for more food safety regulations in the world's most populous nation.

At the Times, you get the idea that selling rat as rat wasn't the problem:

Even for China’s scandal-numbed diners, news that the lamb simmering in the pot may actually be rat took the country’s endless outrages about food hazards into a new realm of disgust.

It's kind of hard to imagine somebody writing an accurate hed without fixing the lede, but the War on Editing claims its victims in strange places.

Now: Is it fair to suspect the Fair 'n' Balanced Network of lifting other people's journalism -- given the attribution to Reuters and to the Ministry of Public Security's website? Consider the last graf of the Fox tale:

“How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?” one poster on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service that often acts as a forum for public venting. “Is it cheaper to raise rats than sheep? Or does it just not feel right unless you’re making fakes?”
 

Sound familiar? Here's the Times:

“How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?” said one typically baffled and angry user of Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog service that often acts as a forum for public venting. “Is it cheaper to raise rats than sheep? Or does it just not feel right unless you’re making fakes?”

Does Fox have a rule against giving credit to the Times, or what?

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4 Comments:

Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I expect that Fox can't admit to their readers that they read the NYT, or that the NYT might say something worth repeating.

7:27 PM, May 03, 2013  
Blogger fev said...

Strange world, huh? When overt plagiarism is preferable to admitting that you read the NYT?

9:48 PM, May 03, 2013  
Blogger Tybalt said...

The great big link at the bottom of the story now says "Click for more from the New York Times"... and the story is fixed. Was the link there earlier?

4:48 PM, May 05, 2013  
Blogger fev said...

The link was there earlier. It's a nice courtesy, but as a way of saying "here's where I got this information" or "here's where I got this turn of phrase," it falls short.

11:16 PM, May 05, 2013  

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