Radio, TV and that Damned Media

Credit Crunch: George Dunham, I Feel Your Pain

Credit where credit is due. Seems like a simple concept.

But in today's 24-second news cycle the genesis of "breaking news" often finds himself as nothing more than the guy at the bottom of the dog pile. Forgotten. Squashed. Raped of credit.

Example #1: The Ticket's George Dunham.

Got a Ticket text at 5:37 Wednesday afternoon, screaming that "The Ticket has learned that Dan Reeves has already quit Cowboys and left VR complex." Turned on The Hardline and, sure enough, there was Jub-Jub breaking national news. From his car, no less. Bravo!

Today, I heard BaD Radio complaining that Dunham wasn't getting sufficient credit for his scoop as the local and national media casually report Reeves' premature evacuation as fact. Fair enough.

Example #2: The Dallas Observer's Richie Whitt.

Maybe you read, this here blog broke the story this morning about former Cowboys' receiver Terry Glenn's recent arrest in Irving. Like Georgio, I had it first. And I had it right.

A little love for my scoop. Fair enough?

But also like The Jubinator, the Observer/Sportatorium's credit evaporated almost as quickly as the story spread. Some places - like The Sporting News and Channel 11 - mentioned us as initially breaking the story.

Others, however, didn't. Now, it's one thing for scumblogs like TMZ to blow you off. But respected organizations like Channel 5 and The Dallas Morning News? Shame.

Surely Dunham's own station - in between crowing about credit - would bestow appropriate acknowledgment. Right?


Throughout the afternoon Sean Bass read news of Glenn's arrest during his tickers with zero attribution, as though it was no more exclusive than last night's Mavs' score.

At the risk of getting "chief"ed, come to think of it I don't remember Dunham or Craig Miller or Gordon Keith or Norm Hitzges going out of their way to note the source of the Bob Hayes' "Sister" breaking news this morning while they were examining Lucille Hester's letter. In fact, Hitzges seemed to claim as his own the illumination that "Staubach is spelled with a K!". You don't say?!

Honestly, this doesn't bother me. Used to it. I'm just saying - "Breaking sports news first. Guaranteed." be damned - you can't have it both ways. Deal?

George deserves credit and I deserve credit but in the end - in this Internet Generation - we both know we'll be anonymous by sundown. (Okay, who am I kidding? I'll be anonymous by sundown and he'll wake up still a Gentle Muser.) It's not fair.

Like it or not, journalism has to hope to find an acceptable working margin somewhere between "stealing shit as your own" and "providing so many footnotes you deteriorate your product into a bogged-down bibilography."

Until then George Dunham, I feel your pain.

UPDATE: Then again, no credit is better than misplaced credit, right? This story, by the Associated Press no less, erroneously says Glenn's "arrest was first reported by Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT." WTF? Sigh.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt