For me, Newsweek was like an upside-down journalism school, where I
learned an astonishing number of bad habits, e.g., having someone else
check your facts. We poached material constantly, from newspapers, from
other publications — even from Time. Copying from Time was a
fact-checker’s dream, because we knew they took accuracy very seriously
over there. It is true that a first-year reporter at the Cape Cod Times
knew 20 times as much about journalism as I did then, but what the
heck: I wanted to work at Newsweek.
As much non-fun as the constant journo bitching has been lately, one thing I’m glad to start reading is some honesty about just how much theft there actually is in print. Hint: LOTS. Bigger papers ripping off story ideas from smaller ones is a time-honored tradition, which is why all this crabbing about bloggers linking (and giving credit, for chrissakes, not to mention traffic) is a little rich.