Forgets To Source Another Exclusive, Remedies Mistake

It wasn’t too long ago that IGN received quite the critique from 1UP.com’s News Editor Luke Smith over IGN’s editorial policy when 1UP broke the story that the Stamper brothers were leaving Rare. (IGN originally didn’t link to 1UP’s story.) IGN later tossed a link to 1UP’s story in the news story. However, it wouldn’t be the last time. Now its happened again, as a VGMW reader pointed out to me yesterday.

Both Cubed3 and Sp0ng produced similar exclusive interviews this week with Square-Enix’s Hiromichi Tanaka this week, and many sites (1UP, Game|Life, Detructoid, Joystiq) sourced one of these publications in their stories. However, when IGN ran their story, they sourced no one (see below).

The story said “In a recent interview,” but then failed to provide a source for the quote. Usually you’d see “In a recent interview with [insert publication name here]” or “When talking with [publication name], Tanaka had the follow to say.” Or when citing your own publication, there should have been at least been a self-referential citation (”When speaking with IGN, Mr. Tanaka…”). Yet there was nothing.

I contacted IGN’s Editorial Director Tal Blevins for clarification as to why there was no source attributed to the quote. He told me he would be looking into the matter, and then restated IGN’s policy on citing sources (”However, it is always our intention as reporters to cite relevant sources.”).

A few minutes later, Tal got back to me and said, that after talking with the editor who wrote the story, that the lack of attribution was incidental and an “oversight.” He said that the article would be amended, and it indeed has, with a link to Sp0ng’s interview with Tanaka.

This might come across as petty, but imagine how you’d feel if you were a writer for Cubed3 or Sp0ng, sites with readership much smaller than 1UP, IGN, or GameSpot. Scoring an exclusive are lofty dreams, and then it happens and people don’t source you? That’s a crappy feeling, and ultimately not fair to the sites who originally broke the story.

Let me make it clear that I’m not trying to vilify IGN here. They admitted it was an oversight, corrected the problem, and now the source gets their due. However, proper attribution is becoming an increasing problem because as writers, especially those for internet publications, rush to post stories they sometimes can’t peel back through all the layers of the onion to find the story’s original source. Let’s all make a concerned effort to help curb this problem by taking an extra few minutes to properly cite our sources.

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