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“I’m Melting, I’m Melting”

Monday, March 13, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Howard Kurtz on the ongoing meltdown of legacy media.

Kurtz also carries an interesting story on a blogger-New York Times dust-up. Seems a Times reporter sent out an e-mail to bloggers hunting for story info on WalMart’s use of the web, and a blogger posted on the e-mail even though it contained a request for confidentiality:

What McAdams did was to scoop Barbaro on his story about how Wal-Mart was sending tips and information to sympathetic bloggers as a way of getting its message out. Barbaro, who maintains he was not irate, says he was “disappointed” that McAdams and other bloggers would “post what it is I was reporting on” after he sent them e-mails seeking comment — with a request that the e-mails not be publicized. The online chatter enabled the Wall Street Journal to publish a short piece the same day as the Times.

The reporter is wrong to assume that a request for confidentiality is a binding obligation unless the request is agreed to. Send the request first, and if no agreement is forthcoming, don’t tip the story –that seems pretty simple.

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