Greensboro blogger Roch Smith, Jr. has been taking local CBS affiliate WFMY to task for passing off press releases or stories from other outlets as having been written by WFMY staffers. Roch calls it plagiarism, which I don't agree with IF the other parties are in agreement that it's okay for WFMY to do it. On the other hand it's incredibly lazy on the part of WFMY and it likely diminishes their reputation as a news outlet.
There's also a hidden danger to the practice of simply regurgitating press releases with the station's imprimatur: mistakenly giving credence to an organization, or even missing a story, because the station didn't bother to do any background on what it was sent. Today Roch found a perfect example of this at WFMY's website:
Here's why. When WFMY vomits up a glowing press release that touts a local sheriff heading off to some "border training" sponsored by Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) without any of their own investigation, they miss the rather important fact that FAIR is tied to white supremacy and bigotry.
WFMY not only gives their poor audience the impression that everything is just peachy with the sheriff's trip — just as the press release promises and just as they've affirmed by putting a staff person's name to it — but they also fail to see the news right under their nose and ask the obvious question which is why the hell are local sheriffs attending a "training" event sponsored by this group?
So here's a lesson for you kids: laziness in your work almost always comes back to bite you. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.