Dr Mumbo

An event organiser retorts

There’s a curious attack on Mumbrella in the diary column in today’s Media section of The Australian. Let’s take a look.

“Events organiser Mumbrella has been getting light-fingered again,” begins the item.

Firstly, did they not get the note that calling us an event organiser is not an insult?

“It likes to criticise reporting in other publications, including this one, but then wastes no time ripping off the same stories. It did it again on Friday, shamelessly helping itself to Media’s exclusive about former Ten programmer David Mott returning to TV as boss of the newly purchased Nine Perth. This follows a write-through on the changing of the guard at News Corp Australia earlier last week, based mainly on reports across News Limited and Fairfax publications without attribution. Yes, they linked to some of the stories concerned, but since when is a click-through an attribution?”

Jeez, sounds unethical, doesn’t it? Don’t you just hate it when websites and blogs rip off your work and claim it as their own.

Let’s look at how Mumbrella did it. First the opening of the Mott story:

mumbrella mott nine

Anyone missed the attribution there? It’s in blue because it is indeed a link.

And second, here’s the beginning of Nic Christensen’s excellent assessment of how the shenanigans at The Australian’s parent company News Corp went down:

mumbrella on kim oiusting

 Again, did anyone miss the attribution to Fairfax Media? Or the links?

What it does perhaps show though is that somebody at The Oz still has a different view on how the world of digital journalism works. You see, there is a new point of view, that the best way to write a piece is to give your readers as much information as possible, rather than pretend you’re the only person covering it.

In Nic’s case, above, he spent 48 hours working his own sources and wrote a comprehensive piece of analysis. And then had the lack of ego to recognise that the best quotes of the saga – “tummy compass” and “grin fucking” – came from Fairfax Media’s Tim Elliott, so he linked to that too. It’s not the traditional newspaper approach of pretending that anything outside of your own reporting might not exist, and can take some getting used to for those of a more traditional bent.

So what motivates the attack from The Oz, if not outrage at insufficient attribution? Could it be related to the fact that Dr Mumbo poked fun at The Australian’s media section last week, when he noticed that every one of the section’s four exclusives of the week related to a News Corp company? Surely nobody would be that petty, would they?

And there’s one final paragraph from The Oz:

“Fellas, we have a paywall to fund our journalism. When you steal it without making a single phone call to confirm the story yourselves, you devalue that work.”

Which does make Dr Mumbo wonder: How does The Oz know who we have or haven’t been ringing?


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