Hello to all my readers,
Welcome back to Blind Intuition. I’m going to engage in a subject that I have wanted to talk about for some time but have felt like I am way out of my depth. Since gaining a bit of media exposure in an effort to raise awareness, I have had some really pleasant experiences and some experiences that have just infuriated me as a result of unethical and lazy journalism. Not only has it left me feeling exploited, it also is frustrating for the journalists who do the right thing by making connections with me and getting the full insight into my family’s story. This is an issue I feel strongly about and I hope it can make some difference – so please share through your social networks.
When award winning social justice journalist Ginger Gorman contacted me in July to publish my story on news.com.au, I was excited to talk with her. I knew this would be a great opportunity for national exposure for my mission to raise awareness for people who are blind or have low vision. Ginger and I had a number of conversations via phone, text and emails in order to tell my story the way I wanted it told. She did the hard yards and the research to publish a moving article that was true to our experience.
Following Ginger’s article being released with my full permission; a number of journalists from overseas and across Australia stole her content as well as content from my blog without consent. They got away with it by putting a link to my blog. Although this was great exposure for my blog and message; it didn’t sit right with me and I feel like I need to shine a light on the practice. Not only do I think it is lazy journalism, it also exploits the people around which the subject matter is based and the journalists that do the hard work. It is dirty and dishonest and I will not stand for it. My copyright says in black and white:
“© Blind Intuition 2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Hocking and Blind Intuition with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.”
Yes I chose to share my story to raise awareness, and yes I realise that anything I publish online is public; but I think the copyright makes it clear that contact and written consent is required before leveraging my experiences for individual and professional gain.
I am aware that some websites such as Kids Spot are affiliated with news.com.au and have gone down the correct avenues. However the following websites did not seek permission and essentially copy and pasted my words from my blog to meet their quota:
- Daily Mail
- New Idea
- Mouths of Mums
- Essential Baby
- Essential Kids
- Revista Crescar
- The Asian Parent
- Spotlight Media – Japan
- E Health Wire
It’s unethical and wrong. Even worse, New Idea published the story on their website without permission or a link to my blog- I found out from a family member that it was out.
My message to journalists is: follow the copyright, seek permission in writing and supply clear and visible links to my blog. I am happy to share my story, but ultimately it is my choice who I share this with and where the story is placed. Please pay me the simple courtesy and respect of contacting me via the contact form on my website if you wish to use my story as a vehicle to grow your readership.
When speaking to Ginger about the impact this activity has on the profession she tells me:
This issue has been reported to ABC’s Media Watch; we are yet to hear a reply. If you have experienced bad journalism, comment below and share your experience.