Waxman Vs. Wolff and a Code of Conduct

TheWrap proposes, and commits to, TheAggregator10

In the head to head between myself and Michael Wolff on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this morning, I hope that between the shouting and talkover noise, the larger issue we’re trying to highlight came through.

Namely, there are proper ways to aggregate, and there are parasitic and harmful ways to aggregrate (also known as stealing), and Newser is an example of the latter.

There is room on the Internet for all of us, and a place for original reporting to live and thrive. But it requires good conduct, including sites that aggregate for a living.


Here’s the good part:

Wolff promised to add links  to Newser’s summaries of Wrap stories where there are none, and I hope our readers and his will hold him to that promise. (Michael, the Beyonce story should be first, then the source grid please, then the other stories I pointed out in my very first post.)

More important, here at TheWrap we’ve put our heads together and come up with a Code of Conduct that we hope will be adopted by news sites across the internet.

They were written by our deputy editor Josh Dickey, with input from the editorial staff and our thoughtful COO Kevin Davis.

We put these out there as a way to advance the conversation and determine rules of the road that will create common cause among responsible news sites.

Here they are. We at TheWrap commit to following these guidelines, and invite other sites to sign on as well. Since this is a set of guidelines we’d like to see widely adopted, please contribute thoughts, suggestions or improvements in the comments.




TheAggregator10: A Code of Conduct

1. Content will be selected for the sole purpose of serving core readers — not to attract search traffic or impersonate basic reporting.

2. Attribution that names the source publication will be given in the byline field where applicable; in the lead whenever possible; and in any instance where the source requires clarification. It will always appear within the body of the story at least once.

3. Text to which no original reporting or commentary is added will be only as long as is necessary to convey the news and essential context. It will not exceed two paragraphs or 150 words.

4. Links to source material will be prominently placed within the interior of the text.

5. The text of each hyperlink will be selected or crafted to make clear to the reader that clicking it will direct them to the source material.

6. Hyperlinks will point directly to the page from which the material was sourced. When this is not possible, links will point to the source’s homepage.

7. Block-copying text is acceptable where rules 1-6 are applied; however, text will be rewritten so as to best serve those rules, i.e., adding the name of the publication as attribution in the lead, crafting passages for transparent hyperlinks, etc.

8. Headlines will be rewritten in all cases.

9. The byline is sacrosanct; it belongs solely to the creator of the content’s core information. A byline will never be taken unless the aggregator is fashioning original commentary or advancing the story through additional reporting; in these cases, all other rules of credit and links still apply.

10. When choosing a story reported by multiple outlets, the aggregator will actively seek the outlet that broke the story and use its link. When this cannot be determined, the aggregator is at liberty to select the version that best serves the aggregator’s core readership.


See previous: Newser.com: Why Michael Wolff & Co. Are Way Over the Line

TheWrap's Cease & Desist Letter to Newser