Sunday, April 03, 2011

SF Ex Cribs My Castro Theater Post;
Let's Spank Corporate Media

My post early last week about the historical Castro Theater's new print calendar showing it will be dark every Monday and Tuesday in the month of April was so good, a corporate media outlet, the SF Examiner in a Friday story, decided to crib from it and not give this blogger credit. Ex staff writer Dan Schreiber opened his story with a neat summation of my post:

The Castro Theatre doesn’t plan to run shows on Mondays and Tuesdays for at least the next month, but managers and owners say although it’s a cost-cutting measure, the shorter weeks aren’t indicative of serious financial struggles.

Questions arose about the 89-year-old landmark after blog posts and a television news report suggested it might be suffering a plight similar to the Haight-Ashbury’s Red Vic Movie House, a financially troubled single-screen theater that is asking for donations on its website. ...

It's not my habit to read the Ex in print or online, so I'm grateful community photographer and my friend Bill Wilson tipped me off, with this note and a link to the Ex piece: "Follow up to your blog or just blatant copy?" I wasn't sure, and asked people at local online news site if they thought I had a case of the Ex cribbing from me.

Brock Keeling, editor at, wrote back: "They TOTALLY did. I meant to email you earlier today when I saw that."

The's Eve Batey gave her thoughts: "I read everything out there, and I did not see this mentioned on any blog but yours. I included it in the Appeal newsletter yesterday, and any time I see a story multiple outlets covered, I include links to all of them. So I suspect that you provided the "inspiration" for this story. Which, as we all know, is frequently the blogger's lot -- to break a story, then to have bigger outlets behave like they discovered it on their own. It sucks, but the upside is that we're not trapped in the increasingly desperate newsroom of some money losing news org. So, in the end, we're winning (damn you Charlie Sheen)."

All three - Bill, Brock and Eve - know the sting of having their images or reporting uncredited or cribbed by the mainstream media, and the rudeness of Schreiber and the Ex is easier to process with the empathy of valued colleagues. Better that we collectively spank the corporate media, rather than separately.

The lack of credit from the Ex aside, permit to now say I like that their story gathered more facts from Castro associates, quotes from them too, and gave an overview of the movie palace's storied history. And I laud any coverage of the plight facing our cherished single-screen and art houses, because it may lead to more butts in seats watching films on the big screen.

Following my own advice to catch more flicks at the Clay, I'll be one of the evening showings of the new French film "Potiche", starring Catherine Deneuve, always a treat to watch, and directed by openly gay auteur Francois Ozon.

Save our local theaters and go to one!

1 comment:

Stephen Buel said...

I am the city editor for the "corporate media outlet" the SF Examiner. As a point of clarification, please let me note that our story was in fact a response to the story by KTVU, another "corporate media outlet." Whether their story was in fact inspired by your blog post I cannot say.

As to the larger issue of when it is appropriate to confer credit to other media outlets, whether they are "corporate media outlets" or scrappy neighborhood blogs, the standards are fairly clear. If we rely on the reporting of another news outlet and are unable to confirm the information ourselves, we should credit the other news outlet, and we do. If, on the other hand, we rereport a story and confirm the facts on our own, such credit is not customary, as was the case in this instance.