Here at the swimbrief, we're proud to be a bunch of "blogging blockheads" (is that what he called us?) writing about swimming in our spare time. We know we're not professionals, in fact, we celebrate it. So you can imagine how proud we are this week to have one our posts paraphrased by the foremost journalist in all of swimming: Craig Lord (link to his article). What's that, he didn't even mention us? EVEN BETTER!
The post I am referring to is last week's "neverwet" nanotechnology post by the Screaming Viking. In it, Viking postulated that the next great suit war could be not over material but what is applied to the material, and included four videos showing some pretty crazy applications of hydrophobic spray. Nine days later, Lord put a post on Swimnews postulating that the next great suit war could be over what is applied to the suits, and linked to the same four videos.
The issue of plagiarism is complicated in the digital age. Usually, it works the other way around. Blogging sites like this are accused by established media of stealing articles. It's true that blogs do a lot of their heavy lifting by commenting on already existing articles. Of course, when I use Swimnews for inspiration to write an article, I always include a link to the Swimnews article I'm referring to and usually mention Lord.
The thing is, I'm really not even mad. Craig plagiarizing us is just another sign of the coming tide in swimming coverage. Established media sites like Swimnews and Swimming World Magazine are growing more desperate by the day. In the past, they had a huge advantage- access. When I started following swimming on the internet in the mid 90s, there was literally no other place on the internet for me to find results and read reports from all the various meets across the world.
All that is changing. Now, at many big meets, live webcasts, scoreboards and results mean you can often have the same experience watching the meet at home as you do at the pool. Furthermore, the stars of swimming are often taking to their own blogs or social media to represent themselves without being filtered by traditional media. Blogs grow more popular as people realize it's not great to have your information filtered by organizations that are beholden to this access.
When I got the chance to help Garrett McCaffrey with floswimming a few years back, we often dreamed of what the site could be. We hoped to take it all the way to the top, but it never happened. One of the biggest mistakes I think we made was shooting for access. As we went along it became frustrating that we would never get it- but the truth was we didn't need it. Swimming World and Swimnews can continue to hoard their access, and grow increasingly irrelevant.
So Craig, thanks, we'll take your plagiarism as a huge compliment. If you need any more story ideas, keep reading.