Blogs and attribution

As a journalist, I clearly understand when to use attribution. I follow the general rule in print that whenever you are mentioning something that is not common knowledge, it should be attributed. Using someone’s idea, attribute it. Using a picture by someone, make sure that photo credit says their name.

But in this new frontier of online journalism, what about attribution in blogs? A new blogger myself, I tend to attribute any links or quotes I can. If I find something via one Web site, I mention that. If I quote an article, I link the article to the blog. I am stumped, however, on images.

Doing some Internet research on the topic, I came across the blog “The Inquisitr” and a detailed posting on this very topic. Here are the main rules it lays out:

Primary source:

If the primary source for the post comes from another blog (an exclusive) a link is desirable in the first line. For example: zyz reports [link], or xyz fact according to a report at [link].

The negation to this rule: if you’ve been approached by the source directly (media release, tip, exclusive etc) or if multiple sites are reporting the facts having obtained the data the same way

Via source:
It’s good form to include a via link in a post if you’ve obtained the story idea via another site or blog. Format: (via: [link]). This is one part of attribution that seems to be dying out. It’s unfortunate, because it was one of the features that helped build the blogosphere.

Quote/ Inline source:

Where the source isn’t primary (they are reporting it second hand, most commonly with MSM), you can quote the external site within the post as an alternative to a via link. This has become more common than a via link, but it’s really only desirable if you can make it work within the context of the post. I’ve always used with direct quoting: Format: [link] says/ reports “xyz.”

Photo credits:
These weren’t really discussed in the old days, but in an age of litigious copyright holders it’s always safer to give a photo credit when using non-default imagery (in particular photos). Format: photocredit: [link]. The other alternative is to use blog safe photos and I tend to use Wikimedia Commons

The last bit on photo credits doesn’t completely help me out. (Thanks for the other general rules though). I checked out Wikimedia Common. On the Welcome page, the Web site states

Unlike traditional media repositories Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as the source and the authors are credited and as long as users release their copies/improvements under the same freedom to others.

I would definitely follow those rules. I generally use Google images to find pictures for my blog and the one I do at work. Yet I don’t want to be sued for copyright infringement. I would gladly do whatever I needed to do to appropriately attribute these images in my blogs or not use them all together.

Hey, all you bloggers out there: Any suggestions for me? What do you think personal bloggers and blogs from news corporations should do about this?


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One response to “Blogs and attribution

  1. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "attribution" - JabberTags

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