One of the frustrating parts of the news business in an era where budget cuts have slashed the staffs of daily newspapers is that editors push their reporters to write stories that others have broken.
There’s nothing proprietary about news, if the writer credits the source – or can re-manufacture the story on their own.
On Tuesday, the New Jersey Globe’s Nikita Biryukov first reported that the owner of a Morristown bar has sued the mayor, alleging political retaliation. The story included a copy of the lawsuit, obtained by the Globe.
This morning, four days after The Globe report, the Star-Ledger ran a similar story.
The reporter, Taylor Tiamoyo Harris, told the Globe how she found out about the lawsuit.
“My editor found it on Morristown Green, and he said, ‘go find it on PACER,'”Harris said.
PACER provides on-line access to federal court records.
From there, Harris, who says she’s working on the breaking news desk, was able to effectively reverse-engineer a story that at least three other news outlets had run days earlier.
“That’s how journalism works,” Harris explained.