Wednesday 13 April 2011

'Stop the national newspaper by-line bandits'

Good post by Press Gazette editor Dominic Ponsford on his blog today about the way national newspapers fail to credit news agency journalists and instead give by-lines to their own staff.

Dominic notes that many of the award winning entries in the NAPA news agency awards last Friday carried staffers by-lines.

He says: "Very few of the agency journalists who supplied the stories are credited in the national publications which their work appeared in.

"Exclusive of the year, for example, went to London Media Press’s Andrew Buckwell for his story about London Mayor Boris Johnson finding himself at the centre of a wealthy socialite’s paternity riddle. But if you look at the Daily Mail cutting to accompany his entry you will see no sign of his byline on it.

"The same is true for Ben Ellery’s ‘spec’ news story of the year – an interview with the boyfriend of murdered architect Jo Yeates. Four bylines appear on the Daily Mail story which was based on his work – but none of them are his. He is also not credited in the Daily Mirror, which also carried the piece."

Ellery, works for Solent News and Pictures, which complained in January that an interview with Jo Yeates' father was lifted by PA, after Solent supplied it to the Southern Daily Echo in Southampton, and went out under a different by-line.

Lawyers have been involved, but I understand the issue will be settled shortly.

Dominic's blog concludes: "Bylines should provide transparency and accountability. Let’s start using them with a bit more honesty."

  • At one time the Daily Star gave a monthly cash prize to the news agency journalist who supplied the best story. A good pat on the back for the too often unsung heroes of journalism.
  • Surrey Advertiser reporterMelanie Hall has tweeted: "Agreed, but it would also be good if the news agencies gave credit to the local papers they rip stories off from wholesale."

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