Anyone who has read my articles may already know, I see myself as a passionate arts blogger. Never having a background or education in journalism I learn every day. So I share this story to educate all readers. What is plagiarism, creditable news, or just plain blogging? You should know the difference, even if you are a patron, artist or an avid social media reader. I just learned I was wrong.
As a writer, I expose myself every time I post an arts article, by sharing a Mother's Day tribute in honor of my Mother Jan Cameron or an article "you want to be a Cruise Director traveling the world". Why? Because I want you, the reader to know the source of who you have entrusted an opinion on arts, or what you are reading about. I share what my partner says every time he directs or choreographs a show: "If it comes from the heart, it will touch the heart." My education might not be in journalism, but I pride myself on sharing arts and education information. I've worn a lot of hats in my life and when reading, I want to know the source, who wears the hat?
If you watch CNN, you see it as creditable news, but if you see Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball it is more sensationalized news, just seen as entertainment. So do you know when you read any information, or arts information, if it is coming from a creditable source, or is it just plain opinion blogging? Let me also state that blogging can also come from creditable sources. I use the word blogging in this article meaning those sharing opinions through social media without a creditable source listed.
Maybe the information being shared is from someone who is just trying sensationalize the information, to capture a social media fan base. When you read BroadwayWorld.com do you see all information as CNN-style creditable arts news, or do you know when it is just a calendar listing of a shared press release? I learned something new thanks to a close journalist friend who I deem creditable.
My background for more than 49 years is in performing arts, so I feel comfortable having opinions on all forms of performing arts, and even on press that is shared for the arts. But even I can be wrong, and was in sharing a posting by BroadwayWorld.com with my un-happy comments. The post really educated me, and I still feel every post should have a name or source from where it came from. This is a problem with social media. We believe everything we see, but we don't always see the source.
I knew the BroadwayWorld.com posting was shared in the exact wording of the publicist who submitted it. The publicist works for the theatre and also works for BroadwayWorld.com, so she could not write a story about the press release, because that would be a conflict of interest. BroadwayWorld.com posted the item without a byline. The posting was basic, with website, shows, and dates, but what caught my attention was a theatre named after a city was producing shows at many locations, and not just one city, and not even through one box office.
A very important story could have been shared, a story that would be compelling enough for others to share the information. Close friends who have degrees in journalism, educated me that this is normal. BroadwayWorld.com did nothing wrong, even if they don't add the source of the listing. If they had added another person's name to the post, that would have been plagiarism. But it was just a post. Some may see it as a calendar listing. The problem with just a post is this: misleading information can be submitted without a source. How do you, the reader know if it is CNN-type of creditable news, or just some person blogging?
Why do I care? Because I have a passion for truth, and for all arts and education programs to succeed. I wanted the information to be shared again and again through social media. But if a press release just offers basic information like website, show name, dates and contact information, it is not compelling enough for others to share it on social media. We all know if you can just be a bit clever, you will find it on You Tube, Facebook, Google and build a huge fan base, that is not even possible paying for front page ads on your favorite magazine or global newspaper.
The good news is this, a journalist from BroadwayWorld.com read my rant on social media. She knew the publicist who submitted the post could not write a story, because she not only worked for the theatre, but also for BroadwayWorld.com. That would have been a conflict of interest. So that journalist is now asking for the publicist to send her the press releases from the theatre, so it can be properly covered by a creditable journalist.
When I first became a contributor for examiner.com, I used to post as many of the press releases that I received with a thank you to the source. I was sent an email from examiner.com telling me that they did not want to post press releases, even if I credited the source. Even though I wish we could share the over 60 press releases promoting the arts that I receive each day, I just can't. A story must be made of the information, as it makes it more compelling than just sharing basic information. Now with over 180,000 people sharing my arts articles, I feel blessed that I can share truth, arts and important information that others may find interesting.
Theatre Chat and BroadwayGlobal missions are to share arts information "from the people for the people". Some may see it as blogging and some may find it as creditable as CNN-style news. I'm dedicated to sharing my passion for the arts, which keeps artists employed, and patrons informed, so those patrons can keep those artists employed. We all must put a source on our post. You may not always agree with what is in print, but you will know where it came from.
These last few years I have covered almost every Broadway musical, local arts, as well as educational events that keep the arts alive in our ever-changing society. Here is a list of a few shows: "Pippin", "Newsies", "Kinky Boots", "Motown", "Matilda", "Annie", "Soul Doctor", "First Date" and even a few shows that have went on to tour, like "Fela", "Ghost", "War Horse", as well as 911 play "110 Stories" in Los Angeles and as far as South Florida's #1 A to Z list. From BroadwayGlobal breaking news best to top ten American choreographers, and even rewarding those who share articles on social media celebrating word of mouth for the arts.
This one-man band for the arts spends endless hours 24/7 to leave a mark for arts and education, making mistakes in spelling, grammar and even ranting at BroadwayWorld.com for not crediting the source of a press release. But every day I learn something new, from a show, from an artists, from a fellow journalist. Even a photo of Lady Gaga can leave a viral mark on the social media world, exposing herself without makeup. I expose myself every day through my thoughts and writing.
What did I learn? I learned it is normal to see postings without any source, not to believe everything I read - which we all should be aware of by now. I learned that patrons, artists and all readers should take interest in demanding to see a source of those who post on any form of social media. With technologies changing so quickly, social media is where we all run to find instant information. We all want instant gratification, and usually for that instant information the web can help us. But, we must demand for our Government to require a source to be posted on even the simple Instagram, Facebook, Twitter... post, so we all know if it is CNN-type of creditable news, or just blogging.
Don't listen to a critic to decide not to see that show. Take in all the information from those you see as creditable, and share the information to keep artists employed, and other patrons informed. That Facebook post from a friend about a Broadway show, or local community theatre production might just be the message you are destined to hear. Share the source! I've worn a lot of hats in my life and when reading, I want to know the source, who wears the hat?