VentureBeat VS PandoDaily: A Twitter Tiff Over Attribution

  1. Journalists prize scoops.  It allows them to claim temporal ownership of a story, to say, with authority, “Look what I found!”  It expresses a reporter’s acumen and cunning, her connections and foresight.  But online, news aggregation is the new “reporting.”  Repackaged headlines are the new “fresh” angles. And for many sites, news scoops and insightful essays are less important than an endless drip of content — even if it’s someone else’s.
    VentureBeat and PandoDaily are not the shithole domains I’m talking about.  VB provides hard tech news and awesome, nerd-tastic game reviews.  Pando covers tech and start ups but also specializes in thoughtful commentary — on Valley business culture and trends in the social Web.  In fact, Sarah Lacy, the EiC of Pando, makes a special point of separating her site’s original reporting from stories curated from other websites.  Perhaps this is why she took issue with a story on VentureBeat that hat-tipped a Pando writer, but did not initially link to the Pando piece.  Here is the play-by-play on Twitter:
  2. sarahcuda
    wow great article on @venturebeat about my wifi costing me $60 on this flight. did they remember to delete @paulcarr’s byline? #shameless
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:06:03
  3. Here, Sean Ludwig, the author of the VB story fairly covers his butt.
  4. paulcarr
    The correct phrase, @seanludwig, is “as first reported by…”. But, y’know, w-ever.
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:09:46
  5. But Pando’s Paul Carr is still annoyed that Ludwig didn’t link him.
  6. sarahcuda
    @seanludwig @paulcarr wow that was magically deleted in my browser. guess it’s a feature of this $60 internet…
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:10:15
  7. seanludwig
    @paulcarr Updated the story with better attribution. Just trying to get the message out there. These changes are outrageous.
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:14:09
  8. It’s settled, right?
  9. dylan20
    @sarahcuda @paulcarr No conspiracy here. @seanludwig saw Paul’s tweet, took the tip, & did reporting/writing before seeing your story
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:18:31
  10. Shit gets real when Dylan Tweney, the Executive Editor of VentureBeat, gets involved.
  11. dylan20
    @sarahcuda @VentureBeat @paulcarr But now we’ve seen your story, we’re happy to add a link. Not trying to be dicks or anything. But w-ever
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:19:21
  12. The male humanoid displays passive aggression.
  13. sarahcuda
    @dylan20 @paulcarr @seanludwig didn’t suggest conspiracy. suggested “shameless”
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:19:33
  14. Lacy stands her ground.
  15. dylan20
    @sarahcuda @paulcarr @seanludwig Not that either. Just working from a Twitter tip combined with not refreshing Pando every 15 minutes
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:26:22
  16. Tweney throws in some sarcasm, essentially saying: look, Sarah, I don’t freaking scan Pando every second to see if my reporters have overlapped their reporting with your reporting.
  17. paulcarr
    @dylan20 Actually, if the initial tip was grabbed from twitter, one assumes my link to the pando story was also seen. No refresh required.
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:27:18
  18. The writer of the original story, Carr, calls Tweney out by saying: you saw my initial tweet and the link to the story, but your writer still did not link to me.
  19. Boom! Tweney hits back with the original thought that Carr tweeted, which was not a link to a story, but the initial scoop, the kernel of what the story would be.  “Details to come,” it read.
  20. dylan20
    @sarahcuda you might encourage your writers not to tweet about stories they haven’t written yet. 😉
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:32:36
  21. And to finish it off, Tweney does his best impression of Varys from Game of Thrones.
  22. sarahcuda
    note to self: if my “reporting” job is ever watching competitors’ twitter feeds hoping for stories, find new line of work
    Tue, Sep 18 2012 14:45:16
  23. PWNage!  Lacy is no push over.  She clowns on Tweney for conducting a kind of journalistic twitter trolling.

    I respect both editors for fiercely defending their writers. Too many editors throw their underlings under the guillotine after shitty blogging mishaps.  Still, this case is strange because the attribution in question was based off a twitter scoop, not a published story.  I think Lacy wins the argument, but if you take Tweney at his word, he didn’t really do anything wrong (except come off a bit hormonal).


    I’m upping my Internet game.  If you enjoyed my style come feast on my tweets.  @PlanetHozz

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7 thoughts on “VentureBeat VS PandoDaily: A Twitter Tiff Over Attribution

  1. Hozz says:

    The original hat-tip spares Ludwig and VentureBeat from harsh criticism. Otherwise it would have been a clear case of scoop-trolling (is that even a thing)? One could make the case that there is a distinction between being inspired by something (a blog post, a book, a tv show) and getting a more direct scoop a “you should write about x,y,z.” I wonder if in the future, as more digital papers crowd the same sorts of topics, this sort of antagonistic story competition will increase, or if overlapping editors become more amicable to each other…. something to think about.

  2. Dylan Tweney says:

    Nice writetup, though you missed one thing: Sean’s original story *did* link to Paul’s tweet, which was actually just a retweet of someone else’s tweet. So we actually provided full credit to the source. It was only later, after he complained, that we also added the link to Paul’s story (which had appeared after Sean did the reporting for his own story).

    Also, thanks for pointing out Sarah’s tweet. I had no idea I’d been pwned until you tweeted this at me. 🙂

    • Hozz says:

      Mr. Tweney, thank you for responding. That makes sense. I think the contention raised by Ms. Lacey and Mr. Carr was that the hat-tip to the twitter scoop was not sufficient, that the original VB story also needed a link attributed to Pando. But as you point out, the VB story was written independent of the Pando story. You then provided a link to the Pando story as a courtesy. Also, I’m glad you enjoyed Ms. Lacy’s last words. One should always be aware of their own PWNage.

  3. Jordan Hearst says:

    Reading this post made me realize how childish and immature tech reporters continue to be. Both Pando and VB have turned into absolute trash reporting.

    Since when does rewriting a press release constitute reporting? Paul Carr is a whinny peasant who should look to get into reality tv over reporting if he’s going to shit his pants everytime something doesn’t go his way.

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