recyclingnews.com ?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The image below is a cropped screenshot from cyclingnews.com this evening. I’ve annotated it to show where the stories come from. You can click on it to enlarge the image.


In summary of the 20 headlined stories, only one – a chat with Mark Renshaw – is certainly original to cyclingnews.com and perhaps a second and third are, on Joachim Parbo and Niels Albert respectively, although I am not sure.

There’s nothing wrong with this, indeed cyclingnews is particularly useful as a point of aggregation, putting stories from obscure websites, regional newspapers and other sources all into one place, and above all doing it in English. In business talk this is a “value added service”, in plain English it’s very convenient.

In a great interview with NY Velocity, reporter Anthony Tan said:

“Right now, there’s at least ten cycling sites who all publish very similar news, which, surprise surprise, often comes from very similar (read: THE SAME) sources. Depending on their professionalism and editorial policy, some will attribute their sources and others will not”

…and in case anyone thinks I’m singling out cyclingnews.com, it’s worth adding that cyclingnews.com is one of the best sites for attributing sources and tends to cover more stories about pro cycling than any other. It’s more I don’t want to name the worst examples.

Things go round in circle, the media snake eats its tale. Take the story on Judith Arndt’s contract prolongation with HTC-Highroad, it first appeared online with German newspaper Die Zeit after an initial press release from her team. Later cyclingnews.com cover the item. Then in turn French website cyclismactu.net covers the story, citing cyclingnews.com as the source, which is fine. But was cyclingnews.com the original source for the news or was it just relayed from the press release?

The point of what I’m saying?
It’s just an observation that news in the cycling world is hard to come by and as Anthony Tan says, it tends to go round and round. I’m always hungry for original content as opposed to press releases and recycled news, when you read something on X.com only to rediscover it on Y.net later.

Right now I am enjoying Velonation  which has its fair share of recycled Euro news but plenty of original news and scoops. Cyclingnews.com is still the home page for my browser.

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{ 12 comments }

Pedalingtheroad December 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

You bring up a topic which is of big importance in my opinion.

I don't understand how professional news agencies have the guts not to attribute their sources these days. If found out, it'll be and is a serious blow to their image. So easy to find out. I saw the exact same pattern in the "exclusive" Wiggins-interview this week, several agencies take credit.

In the days where "everyone" can relay information with the speed of light, consistency as well as originality will be essential. It's make it or brake it for those who don't cope with the flow in my opinion.

Couldn't agree more with you on Velonation, of the above mentioned arguments.

Anonymous December 29, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I like CN but never realized so much stuff is imported.

TheInnerRing December 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Pedalingtheroad: yes, it is important to give credit. Cyclingnews.com is good here although I'd always prefer a link to the original story.

Anonymous: note that my survey is not, as they say, "scientific". I just took this evening's headlines and had a look so this is not a representative amount but just a quick observation.

dougreport December 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Try http://dougeport.com. There is a lot more variety (if I may say so myself)! Support the DougReport: Ride a Bike.

Ilaria December 29, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I think it's normal that the 'bigest' is the less original: it's like a 'collector' for a larger audience. I'd simply like they said where their news come from – specially when they come…from me ;)

Touriste-Routier December 30, 2010 at 4:54 am

Journalism is dead; "reporting" is in. CN is widely known for printing news/press releases verbatim.

They are, as you said, a great aggregator, and offer a tremendous service. I just wish they'd show some journalism more often and actually ask some questions to their sources so more of their articles don't sound like press releases/fluff pieces, and so they have more context (and make more sense).

TheInnerRing December 30, 2010 at 10:02 am

It's fine to collect the news, so long as you give credit to the original sources.

Touriste-Routier: good point, it would be nice if a press release could be followed up with a phone call or some comment etc. Easier said than done I suspect but then again every press release comes with a phone number to call…

Anonymous December 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

The Judith Arndt contract prolongation was a press release issued by HTC.

Most of velonation is also recycled news.

TheInnerRing December 30, 2010 at 10:21 am

Anonymous: thanks. I'd picked up on that last night (http://twitter.com/39teeth/status/20209340547866624) and will amend the text above.

Anonymous December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

The Axel Merckx quotes were re-re-cycled direct from his Dec-10 Gran Fondo newsletter

http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/december-newsletter.php#more-1114

TheInnerRing December 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

Anonymous: and the tale in the newsletter wasn't original either, I'd heard the tale of poor ergo tests several times before.

Anonymous December 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I agree that the Tan interview was great but I wish they would have asked him why he soft-balled the interview with Phil Zajicek.

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