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Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Bar Mitzvah Suit

Posted by on March 7 at 10:35 AM

Once again, without citing the Stranger, the Seattle Times goes with a story today that the Stranger broke. This time it’s a story that Stranger writer Megan Seling broke last December. She did a follow-up last week.

Here at the office I refer to the Seattle Times as a bar mitzvah suit paper. What I mean by that is: They pretend to be really mature—like a 13-year-old boy in a suit—but really, they don’t understand the subtleties of being an adult. A perfect example is shit like this, where they act snooty (thinking that’s what a fancy paper would do), but really, they come across as immature for not being grown-up enough to cite our work.

This all became clear to me last year when we broke the Microsoft/Hutcherson story. When the NYT (an actual grown up paper) picked up that story and ran it on their front page, they graciously credited the Stranger.

It was funny: In that instance, when the Seattle Times started writing about Microsoft and Hutcherson, they were forced to follow the example of the NYT and so, had to cite us. It must have hurt.

Even funnier: it took one Seattle Times reporter and three Seattle Times news researchers to write up Megan’s story.

And if you think I’m being immature for getting exercised about all this, I’d suggest you listen to KOMO radio today at around 11:15. They just called me to ask what was up with the Seattle Times ripping us off. “You should be pissed,” KOMO producer Dave Carson said.

UPDATE: Megan Seling was on Dave Carson’s morning radio show updating KOMO’s listeners on the FSU story.

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how about kuow running the whole stranger created hutcherson/sims debate tomorrow, then having an hour long call in about it (preempting both warren olmney's "to the point" and "day to day" the mid-day news show) without even mentioning the stranger in any of the announcements that are running.

proof kuow sucks and and i'll never pledge.

they are way worse than the times in my opinion.

Yeah, that's annoying.
I sent them an e-mail about that.

I guess they weren't actually at the debate, where I introduced it and explained why I decided to organize the whole thing—getting Hutcherson and Sims and Mak and Town Hall to agree to do this.

Whatever, I don't expect much from KUOW.

jesus. cool, you wrote a story on something happening in the all ages scene for months before you caught onto it. and then a bunch of people were arrested, tv news picked it up, and then the Times wrote about it. And now you whine about the Times stealing your story. boo hoo. the story was out there long before you wrote about it, and the times is just picking it up after the tv news gets on it.

your job in the alternative press is to write about stories the mainstream press ignores or is late to pick up on. that's what you do. whining it when the mainstream picks up on the story just makes you look silly and petty. really, time to grow up.

the slog and forums would be so much more interesting if not for the constant whining by stranger staff (including Dan's stupid, stupid smaller weekly watch) and the crazy posts by crazy internet trolls.

the stranger could be great if you weren't so insecure.

"Your job in the alternative press is to write about stories the mainstream press ignores or is late to pick up on."

Nope. That's the 1970s model of alt. journalism. You can read the Weekly for that sleepy model.

Our job is to cover Seattle, period: break news and frame issues before the dailies get their hands on it.

We've got a small news staff, but we do it whenever we can.

Hey Not a Whiner -

The point isn't that the Seattle Times picked up the story—-that's awesome!

The point is that they do it without giving credit where credit is due, like most 'mainstream' papers, including the Stranger, do when another publication has broken the story.

Megan worked hard on that story, and made the Times' job a hell of a lot easier.

the story the Times picked up came from the King TV story about the situation at Studio 7. A story King broadcast before The Stranger wrote about it. But even THAT is not the point. The point is how annoying The Stranger's incessant whining is. Just be better, don't keep talking about it. The whining is really getting over the top. The better material you come up with, the more people will copy it. Don't worry, your readers notice it, you don't need to blow your own horn all the time and whine when someone doens't credit you.

I guess there's some truth to that. KOMO certainly noticed.

Seattle Smaller Weekly Watch is dead—has been for weeks.

so what's the big deal about who writes what first anyway? why are you always bitching and moaning about your self important little scoops and how you're not getting the proper credit in the mainstream press that you deserve?

sounds pretty narcissistic to me.

and is that reason why you're in your profession anyway -- to be "credited" by others? whatever happened to the public service aspects of journalists being a good watchdog, holding public officials acountable, etc?

maybe that's why people are so god damn suspicious of so-called "journalists" these days -- because the profession is far more "me" based than it seemingly used to be.

and besides, if you're so in to keeping score about this kind of petty shit, isn't the real truth that 95 percent of what the stranger writes, covers, follows, or whatever you want to call it, stuff that already has been in the mainstream or other press anyway?
(i.e.,enumclaw horse fucking, seattle monorail's overcosts, strippergate, etc, etc, ect, etc) it seems to me it's the stranger more often than not that should be crediting the mainstream press for the bulk of its content, not the other way around. without the mainstreamers, its doubtful you'd have any alternative newspaper to begin with.

Response from a letter I wrote to Sara Jean Green...

"Whatever, dude. Here's my response to others who had similar things to say:

First off, I'm the police reporter and heard about this story during my routine checks and thought it was interesting. It wasn't until I had already started doing my research that I saw the Stranger stories. Everything in my story was independently reported, except for the stuff from Arizona and NY state, so I attributed stuff I'd used from reports in papers there.
Just because the Stranger wrote about the hardcore scene and FSU before I did, I'm not obligated to mention that, just as scores of other media aren't obligated to mention that the Seattle Times "broke" a story that they're following. It happens all the time. Do you think Hector Castro, my counterpart at the PI, makes a point of saying in a story that he's actually chasing down a story he learned about because I reported it first? Uh, no. I know you think my FSU story was "rehashing" the Stranger pieces, but I disagree. Though I say kudos to Megan for the work she's done, I would like to point out that she's never interviewed an FSU member on the record. I did. From my perspective, she was writing with an insider's knowledge for an insider audience while I was trying to introduce this segment of the music community to a mainstream audience.

Look, I read the Stranger every week --- the Weekly too --- though I know I didn't read Megan's FSU stories when they first came out. I've worked for weekly papers myself and totally agree that they're valuable to any community as another voice in the community. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have enough newspapers in any given town. But just because one paper reports something before another paper -- or any media outlet -- it doesn't mean the second reporter is obligated to mention the first report. Had I used any of Megan's material, of course I would've attributed it. Otherwise, that's plagarism. But I didn't -- I did my own leg work and have the notes to prove it. People follow my stories all the time. I consider it a compliment.



Grown up papers credit other papers on scoops.
We credit the Seattle Times or PI or the Weekly (their KEXP story) when they break news that we then weigh in on.

A scoop is not about getting to a story that everyone knows about first, it's about bringing something to the public's attention that otherwise wouldn't have been reported. (FSU's controversial presence in the music scene is a perfect example.) That's when you hat tip other pubs. It's part of being in the business.

Strippergate was broken by a community newspaper, The Seattle Sun, and we credited them repeatedly.
Our Slog was the first place to report the m-rail's $11billion.

You may assume that we cull the Seattle Times more than we do original reporting, but that's cuz we never get credit for our original reporting. Your (mis)impression of the situation just confirms why we feel compelled to bring it up.

In response to Sara's comments:

1. The FSU folks would not go on record with Megan. Sara implies that Megan's stories were somehow "unobjective" (characterizing Megan's "insider" perspective.) It was FSU's decision not to go on record. Not Megan's. She talked at length with FSU—like any reporter would. Kudos to Sara for getting FSU on record, but Megan's story and reporting were only an "insider" report to the extent that Megan is plugged in.

2. Megan already introduced this story to a mainstream audience. Her stories were prominent in our news section (not the music section). Our news section is read by mainstream folks from city hall to Olympia.

3. No, I wouldn't expect Sara to credit Megan or the Stranger for a basic story. But the whole FSU issue is something that the Stranger brought to the public. If you read the recent SPD report on the FSU arrests, the officer cites a recent awareness of problems with FSU. That is a reference to Megan's articles. I know this because when Megan wrote her original story in December, the SPD said they didn't take FSU seriously. Obviously, that changed once Megan's story hit.

-to Dogdays
The point being made, (poorly or not) is that The Stranger DOES credit others when they follow up on someone elses work and always have. The stories you use in your post (strippergate, monorail etc.etc.)WERE broke by The Stranger first. Just because YOU first heard about them somewhere else doesn't mean that The Stranger didn't break the story.
The reputation by the mainstream media is that alternative press doesn't get the worthy stories so people shouldn't bother with reading them, and continue to PAY for theirs. Another myth is that IF alterna-press gets worthy stories then they don't have the funding to pay for excellent journalist and then don't get all the facts. Another myth perpetuated is that all other things aside alternative press is only read by losers and people who (demographically)are only interested in themselves and tend not to care about civic issues anyway. Again shown to NOT be true.
The real reson mainstream press doesn't cite the Stranger is maybe people should be reading The Stranger over their coffee every morning and lining their bird cage with the Seattle times instead of paying for something they could be getting for free.

WHOA -- not sure why I'm "SUCH AN ASSHOLE."

Is it because I disagree with The Stranger's petty little excercise in back-patting, or because my basic argument is so strong, all you can do is respond with name-calling? (Or maybe because, in fact, I am an asshole?)

JOSH -- I'd have no problem with you griping over legitimate instances of plagerism or copyright infringement or something like that, but this kind of small potatoes stuff over ideas, incidents, occurrences in the public realm seems more like the immature position to me. (What, just because the Stranger once wrote a story about FSU, every other media outlet in the nation has to credit you guys? Sounds like a bunch of bunk, to me -- and again, narcissistic).

I'd also wager that it's the mainstream newspapers like the Seattle Times and the Pi that get ripped off for their stories far more often than you guys ever do. When I wake up in the morning and watch TV news, and when I listen to local radio on the way to work, practically every new story I hear is one that can be found in that morning's newspaper. So it seems to me like they're getting their stories ripped off without credit routinely -- and not in such isolated and irrelevant instances as what you describe.

But do we hear the Times or PI continuously bitching about it? Well, maybe they are, I don't know. But certainly not to the extent I read such pissing and moaning in The Stranger and in your columns, which in increasingly shrill tones seem to tell readers how you did this or that first and deserve credit for it all the time. Fine ok. Here you go: JOSH DESERVES CREDIT! LOOK AT HIM FOLKS, JOSH FEIT, EXTRAORDINARY JOURNALISTS DU JOUR! PLEASE HEAP AND LAVISH PRAISE UPON HIM!

(GEE, All this need for callling to attention to one's self seems sooo-ooo mature and grown-up, doesn't it?)

So there you have it Josh. You da MAN. Will that suffice? Or do you expect your constant validation-seeking from the mainstream media will become even a more regular feature in the Stranger than it already is now?


Dog day you're definately an asshole, stop guessing.

Josh, reality check: You just called The Stranger a "grown up paper." Please take a nap, get off the Slog and get some real work done. You're flippin, dog.

All praise is due to Megan Seling, actually. She kinda rocks.

I get all my Seattle specific news from the Stranger, because they seem to be on top of what matters.

We as readers may get more exposure to the staff of the stranger, and their comments about grown up behavior, because they contribute to the Slog so frequently. We have more access to thier personality and opinion on a constantly updated 247 365 basis than even a daily paper offers.

The Slog has turned this weekly into a minute-ly. While features may come out once a week breaking news is often spilled out right here where the Stranger writers and anyone with internet access can comment on it ad nauseum.

Good work Stranger.

Seattles only Newspaper.

I think we all appreciate the reporting in the Stranger. Likewise people are very sick of the whining. So stop it. It is annoying.

I guess the FSU guys wear leather jackets now. Says so in the Times article.

whining doesn't make you a grown up.

also it might be helpful to cop in a more public way to the fact that the stranger has poached (and plaigiarized) others' stories without acknowledgment (except maybe in a regrets issue, that i recall). i speak of amy jenniges and the (south) seattle star.

that said, it is bogus when the times or other papers don't credit community newspapers for their stories. it's not hard to add a brief gesture toward one's colleagues into a long story. and i don't see who it harms if you're doing original reporting in your story.

What garbage.

Josh Feit's favorite subject is himself, and he has that subject all to himself. The Times will not touch it -- it's all yours, Josh!

Be honest, Josh, at least for a milisecond. Is there a single significant story that you have ever broken? The biggest story, Strippergate, was broken by James Bush. Your idea of a scoop is to report on your attitude on something -- that self referentialism at work again.

Grow up, short guy.

If the P-I won't hire you, you just have to get over it. You're still the Walter Conkhite of the Monorail. Nice job, there. And the media gave you zero credit for alerting the public to that disaster, right?

With the Seattle weeklies watch, how about a new feature: a weekly count of Josh's reference to himself? Get angry now because the dailies will ignore that Stranger exclusive too.

that last post was revolting. whoever wrote it just took a shit in the swimming pool. time to get out and go take a shower.

Jeeze, so angry... Calling out Josh for "his favorite subject being himslef", when i actually think he is defending a colleague here, not himself. Anyway, free alternative press is more vulnerable to this kind of treatment going unnoticed than mainstream toilet paper like the Times, so i say CALL THEM OUT, keep 'em honest.

Re: South Seattle Star

The biggest story in South Seattle last year was the CASA Latina story. The awesome Amy Jenniges broke that story in the Stranger.

The story we "poached" (a story about Planned Parenthood, I think) prominently credited the Star for its original reporting.

I've never applied for a job at the PI. I have a subscription to Time magazine, though. I'm obsessed with Time magazine. It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie producers are serious.

"Stranger news reporter Amy Jenniges regrets her December 2 article about the Curves fitness club, which she cribbed from the neighborhood newspaper Seattle Star. Ms. Jenniges regrets signing her name to the article even though she had no time to do any original reporting and it was practically plagiarized."

Am I to understand that Josh Feit is SHORT? Oh my freaking god. SHORT? Are you SERIOUS? I will never rub The Stranger's ink on my hands again.

blah, blah, blah, we're so fucking smart. we're edgy. we're irreverant. we run fuck ads.


dogday rulz shit. josh has a napoleonic complex. not a whiner has had enough! and the dish ran away with the spoon.

meanwhile, we're getting tagged in the ass by Nickels, creamed on by the neo-con fascists, and pissed all over by perhaps the most corrupt government ever.

and you didn't notice I WROTE THAT FIRST?? FUCK YOU!

will somebody give a fuck about something that actually matters?


"Seattle Smaller Weekly Watch is dead—has been for weeks."

Weeks??? How many? Perhaps Two or Three? Yeah, I guess you're correct, Dan. It has been weeks.


It seems that the people who accuse Josh of being obsessed with himself are obsessed with... Josh.

Pot, kettle.

Dan, it seems hypocritical for Stranger staff to have a problem with obsessive rants.

Goose, gander.

To Skeeter, Not a Whiner, Josh is a Short Guy in a Funhouse Mirror, HoratioSanserif and WF:

It seems that some or all of your postings here about The Stranger's incessant whining, validation-seeking, story stealing, self-imporatance, and delusions of media grandeur came AFTER I wrote my posts on the subject.

In the future, please be sure to credit DOGDAY for such thoughts. That is only the grown up thing to do.


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