So a Washington Post writer, Ian Shapira, wrote a story about a generational consultant who’s paid to explain the Millenials to Boomers and Gen-Xers. It’s interesting because someone actually gets paid to do this.
A writer at Gawker, Hamilton Nolan (who’s one of the better Gawker writers), picked up the story, which means reprinting most of it, making a few sardonic observations about the reporter’s work and tossing him an attribution at the end.
Which has basically become de facto policy for Gawker and the web in general. In fact, Jason Kottke pointed this out not too long ago. Shapira feels like Gawker essentially stole his story, which according to Rachel Sklar at Mediaite, they did.
As bloggers and web writers, journalists, whatever, we’ve all done this from time to time. The larger issue is what we want the future of the web to be. I don’t think anyone intended for it to become the giant pinball machine that it is, with essentially the same five or six stories bouncing along from site to site. It was supposed to allow an anything goes mentality. To see it reduced to crib notes is, frankly, rather sad.
We need aggregators, sites that grab the best bits of the web, but the best of those sites are the ones that find interesting items, offer a preview and summarize, but still leave plenty of incentive to read the original work. It’s a fine skill to be able to offer an article’s gist, while still providing reason to read on.