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Monday 19 September 2016

Newspaper thinks rival newspapers can't use internet search engines

There was an article Government ignored report to cut waste cost (paywall) by Seán McCárthaigh June 20 2016 Times Ireland which had the phrase

Documents from the Department of the Environment, which have been seen by The Times...
I was under the impression that the phrase "seen by" meant documents seen by newspapers but not publically available.

I expected the document was available online and searched and found it but was confused about it being the right document because of the language used in the article. I asked the reporter if this was the document referred to and his editor jumped in and said yes, I suggested it would be better to link directly to the document so readers can see it for themselves and get a better understanding of the story. The Times Ireland editor replied that "they wanted one more day to go through it", they had chosen to use the phrase 'seen by' specifically to obscure and mislead about its availabilty from anyone who read the story.

So newspaper editor thinks rival newspapers who may have read the article can't use internet search engines and find the public document and use it to report on a story. They were thinking about competitors before their readers. Quick direct access to the whole document allows the reader to see if the article reflects the document and improves trust in the article.

All the work of seeking out stories, reading long dry documents, checking and chasing comments should be directed towards servicing the reader it shouldn't be about their competitors.

They put a link to the document at the bottom of a follow-up story the next day but then it was too late, as a reader/subscriber I felt misled by the newspaper.