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Bloggers, Journalists and Sourcing


Published March 17, 2008 at 11:45 a.m.

Here's a little Vermont blogger inside baseball news for you.

Last Friday, VPR aired a report raising questions about the political motives behind the crackdown on Intervale Compost. I heard it while I was on my way to pick my son up from daycare.

One thing about the story immediately jumped out at me — the meaty partwas a conversation during which Agency of Natural Resources secretaryGeorge Crombie allegedly said he had Intervale Compost "in a noose."

People who have been following the story may recall that John Odum posted that item on Green Mountain Daily.But though VPR obviously used Odum's intel, it didn't cite GMD.Reporter John Dillon told listeners that the conversation appeared "ona web blog."

I was surprised and disappointed that VPR declined to name GMD.Bloggers who raise important issues deserve to be credited, especiallywhen others use their reporting as a jumping off point for a story.

I wrote to VPR this weekend to complain about the omission, and JohnDillon wrote back: "We had intended to name the blog and will make thataddition in the web version of the story."

I just checked, and they have, in fact, inserted GMD in the online version.

I think the GMD-related bit of the story is worth sharing here, too.It's a good example of how journalists and bloggers can work togetherto advance the public understanding of an important issue. From thetranscript of the VPR report:

On the Green Mountain Daily blog it was stated recently thatAgency of Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie told the Intervalethat he had the center in a -- quote -- “noose.” For some at themeeting, the meaning was clear: Crombie was going to tighten theregulatory vise on the compost center. 

Intervale Director Kit Perkins was there.  


(Perkins) ``It was upsetting. But I certainlydidn’t get it out publicly. This is not my initiative here. But I willtell the truth and say yes that was said at the meeting.’’  


(Dillon) Crombie has said publicly that the Intervale is the wrong place for a composting operation.  


But Crombie said he did not use the word noose to describe his agency’s hold on the Intervale.  


(Crombie) ``No. No. I would not do that.’’  


(Dillon) Perkins said she said heard Crombiesay it. She said she was hoping to work with the state on resolving theenvironmental and archaeological concerns.

As someone who's following this story closely, I was grateful for the opportunity to hear both Perkins and Crombie respond.

Alas, for some reason, the VPR website doesn't actually link to GMD'sblog post. And it doesn't name Odum as the source of the tip. Sothere's still room for improvement.