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A Warning about WSJ and Jane Costello

A Warning about WSJ and Jane Costello

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Old Aug 9, 01, 11:21 am
  #1  
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A Warning about WSJ and Jane Costello

Everyone should be aware that Jane Costello, Wall Street Journal Online uses this board to trawl for stories.

That in its-self I have no problem with, what I do have a problem with is that she took a quote from one of my posts, and found out who I am (not too difficult as I don't hide).

She then published my real name, the (out of context) quote, where I live, where I work, and what I do for a living - ALL WITHOUT MY PERMISSION in an article that appeared on Aug 07.

I will still continue to leave my email address and other info on my profile - I don't have anything to hide - but please be aware that she may steal anyones info and quote you without asking.

------------------
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Old Aug 9, 01, 11:25 am
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That sounds very shady to me. Thanks for the heads up.

A journalist with real integrity would never do something like that. That's something you'd expect from one of those supermarket tabloids.

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Old Aug 9, 01, 11:40 am
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I had Jane email me for details on an anecdote I posted here, but I responded and she was polite, totally above board and ethical, so I'm surprised by your story.

I HAVE been spammed by OTHER WSJ reporters who are "trawling" for stories and they -- not Jane -- have been very rude. They didn't offer the courtesy of a personal response. In one case the reporter requested a bunch of anecdotal, "tip"-style information which took me an hour to assemble -- then ignored it.

It made me sorry I once defended journalists who work this way.

Clearly numerous WSJ reporters, mostly from the "Marketplace" and "Weekend" sections, cruise these boards looking for "color" (anecdotes, personal examples, etc.) they can stir into their stories without making any real effort. As a former reporter myself, I can tell you one of the hardest parts of the job is finding credible, suitable "real people" who personify a point you're trying to make. Flyertalk is teeming with great examples -- so it must look like a great labor-saver.

But the WSJ staff is using us on the assumption that we'll be thrilled to get our names in the paper. This sort of journalism may not be legally or ethically wrong, but it's lazy and shouldn't be rewarded by us.

yyz-den, you conceivably could write to Joanne Lipman, editor-in-chief of the "Weekend" section, or Jonathan Dahl, the editor, if you felt your privacy was violated.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 11:44 am
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You may want to consider (if you haven't done so already) writing a letter to Wall Street Journal to complain about this. I'm certain she is in violation of WSJ's journalistic guidelines by publishing personal information without consent.

On top of that, copying the information from FlyerTalk without proper attribution is probably contrary to the journalistic standards of the WSJ.

In short, Jane Costello is being a very lazy writer who didn't even take the minimal effort to follow even basic journalistic standards.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 11:55 am
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Plato90

She did attribute the quote, but did not ask me whether she could use it.

It was not something I would not want my mother to read, but that is not my point here.

To me common decency dictates at least asking permission before publishing personal information, unless of course the public good is served by disclosure, certainly not the case here.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 12:07 pm
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So when we post to these boards, there is no ownership? I'm not talking a copyright or anything for us, I was thinking maybe FT had some rights, since they "published" our work?

I usually know just enough about any subject to be dangerous, so I'm sure I am way off. Just wondered if anyone else might know more in this direction.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 12:12 pm
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yyz-den,

I was actually referring to attributing your comments to FlyerTalk, not you personally. While it's given that posts to a public forum like FlyerTalk puts the contents out of your personal control, they remain in the control of FT. That's why they are allowed to edit or delete posts at their discretion.

WSJ should not re-print content taken from FT without at least attributing it properly to FT.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 12:21 pm
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Plato90s

Point taken, I don't know if she did (attribute to FT) or not, I had the relevant bits read to me over the phone by someone at WSJ, she promised to email it to me but it hasn't arrived.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 12:27 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by yyz-den:
Plato90s

Point taken, I don't know if she did (attribute to FT) or not, I had the relevant bits read to me over the phone by someone at WSJ, she promised to email it to me but it hasn't arrived.
</font>
if she used your "real" name without permission I would take it up with Randy as well as w/ WSJ.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:05 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by BearX220:
I had Jane email me for details on an anecdote I posted here, but I responded and she was polite, totally above board and ethical, so I'm surprised by your story.
</font>
My experiences with Jane are very much the same as BearX220's. I have found that Jane was very polite and professional in our email exchanges.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:11 pm
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I'm not so sure what Jane did is journalistically unethical, assuming that she, in fact, did as you claim. By posting your real name or real e-mail address -- as I do -- it's not hard for somebody to find out who you are. And this website is part of the public domain to the extent that anybody with internet access can see it. So she is simply taking information from the public domain and reporting on it. It's not much different than a reporter providing a report based on events that they witnessed. But if she did this, while it may not be journalistically unethical, it is still journalistically improper, in my opinion. After all, one might not really be who he or she says they are. It's easy for anybody to create a false identity on the internet. Therefore, Jane may be taking information from a source that is not credible. That is a major journalistic boo boo. But for the record, every time that I have been contacted by reporters from the WSJ, (mostly Rafer Guzman -- never Jane Costello), they have been polite and ethical.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:20 pm
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I pulled out Tuesday's edition and the only travel related article I found was on Belgium spas, and no articles by Jane Costello.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:21 pm
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It's journalistically RISKY. The reporter who lifts material from Flyertalk is effectively vouching for its accuracy. She has no clue as to who we posters are, or whether we're congenital liars. We may be publishing to the public domain here, and therefore risking further dissemination of our stories and views. But if I were still a reporter I wouldn't risk doing it. If I were an editor and found my reporters were pulling unverified quotes from strange websites, I'd discipline them.
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:22 pm
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WSJ should have fact checked with you before using your name. It is common courtesy.

While I've never made it to the WSJ, I have been quoted in several publications. All involved either e-mail or phone follow-up. The only thing a journalist cannot guarantee is the actual text that may appear. Editors have the final say.

My favorites:
- in Conde Nast Traveler several years ago, I commented on how the airlines entice you with special luxuries to get you to book a flight with them. In this case United had been promoting their new biz class service - connoisseur class - with new reclining seats and noise canceling headphones. My comment was that unless you check beforehand, not all flights leaving SFO were equipped thusly, and that my headphones squealed instead of canceling the noise. My sennheisers did a much better job.

My point was that you may not get the level of service you paid for, and the airline really only guarantees getting you from point A to point B. Not the level of service!

I had no real complaint to United, though, as I knew service wasn't always what the glossy brochures proclaimed.

I suggested to the writer that United should give vouchers or a credit AUTOMATICALLY when level of service is not what is advertised.

So...
- remember the last time your seat did not recline (or reclined slowly and automatically)
- the headphone jack did not work
- your special meal somehow disappeared, though confirmed
- your aisle seat somehow was in the middle of the row
- your seatmate shared your seat, too

M2 in OR
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Old Aug 9, 01, 1:24 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by PremEx2000:
And this website is part of the public domain to the extent that anybody with internet access can see it. So she is simply taking information from the public domain and reporting on it. It's not much different than a reporter providing a report based on events that they witnessed.</font>

Oh, absolutely it's different -- hugely different. As a tangible expression, this is all copyrighted material, individually by the individual writers, and in aggregate by FlyerTalk.*

There is an enormous gap between "public forum" and "public domain".

(*That's the default state of affairs for something like this -- it may be modified by contract, e.g. the one we all assented to when we got our FlyerTalk IDs, the particulars of which I don't recall. It may be that we assigned all rights to Randy.)
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