When the news side of Time Inc. loudly set up shop in Detroit, buying a house and filling it with reporters, they didn’t declare the intent was to ripoff the local media.Â But after CNN made world news yesterday with an incredible tale of unclaimed bodies piling up at the morgue, that’s apparently what they did. The piece is almost identical to one produced by the Detroit News months agoâ€”August 6th to be exact. Now the News staffer who wrote that is pissed off, as he should be.
“I had 70 emails on this by lunchtime” reporter Charlie Leduff tells ANIMAL. “You don’t come to Detroit and make a reality show out of it. Your national explosion? ThatÂ is something I did. You can’t come in here with your big-city money and grab stories without giving the newspaper credit.”
LeDuff says CNN’s ripoff-reporting is just adding to Detroit’s economic misery. “There’s no journalism jobs, period. Everyone here is hanging on, the paper is laying people off daily and we’re down to two days a week (print delivery) You’re just making it worse.”
Reminding that news is a business, he explains that the Detroit News spent thousands reporting the morgue story and now without crediting them “the money goes to Time, you’re not driving traffic through our site.”
Curious about Time’s infotainment-styled project, Leduff says he dropped in on house a couple weeks back. “I knocked on the door, introduced myself to Bureau Chief Steven Gray, and said ‘you ain’t going to jack my shit and not acknowledge it, are you?’ and he says ‘no, don’t worry at all.”
Actually — worry.
Photo by Max Ortiz/The Detroit News