Mary Ellen Klas’ story about a redistricting deal sure reads a lot like Kenric Ward’s

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I’m not a media critic, I just play one on this blog.

Still, can someone explain to me how Mary Ellen Klas can report this story on Tuesday about a failed deal between Democrats and Republicans over redistricting two days after Kenric Ward reports this story on Saturday about a failed deal between Democrats and Republicans over redistricting?

Certainly, Klas is entitled to “re-report” this story as traditional media is wont to do when they are scooped by new media, but doesn’t Ward’s story at least deserve an acknowledgement?

After all, couldn’t Klas’ reporting have been influenced by Ward’s reporting?  It’s likely those quoted in Ward’s story read what was said on Saturday.  What they read may have impacted what they said to Klas by the time she contacted them.

In fact, there’s this paragraph from Klas’ story:

“(Steve) Geller now questions the decision by (Don) Gaetz to talk about the deal. ‘They’re trying to stir up dissension,” he said. ‘They hope perhaps a Supreme Court justice might read this and give it some credence.’ “

Might Geller have been influenced by Ward’s story?

That’s at the very least.

The worst case scenario here is that Klas read Ward’s story, re-reported it and failed to acknowledge the original inspiration for the story.

Now, Mary Ellen isn’t a reporter for the Associated Press, but its their policy on attribution that should be the standard.  The AP believes that credit should be given to another organization EVEN if its own reporting matches it:

“If organization X breaks a story and we then match it through our own original reporting, we should say something like this: ‘The secret meeting in Paris was initially reported by X.’ “

Isn’t that the case here with Klas and Ward?

Hey, I’m guilty of what Klas has done all of the time, but, as she herself is eager to remind me, I am a blogger AND she is a bureau chief for the Miami Herald. In other words, she must be held to a higher standard.

One footnote to this story, as an example of why this issue matters. Check out the Orlando Sentinel‘s and Sun-Sentinel‘s Morning Reads post.  In it, Kathleen Haughney links to Klas’ story, when it’s Ward who broke the story and deserves the traffic to his website.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.