By: Staff reports

Court Order Says Items From Toledo Blade Must Be Attributed

A potentially groundbreaking court order signed Tuesday requires
Toledo, Ohio, radio station WSPD-AM to give credit to The Blade
for any local news items that originated in the newspaper.

The consent order comes after the newspaper sued the radio
station’s owner in September for deceptive trade practices after
morning personality Mark Standriff read newspaper articles
verbatim over the air. Standriff also encouraged listeners not
to buy the newspaper, using this motto, ‘I read The Blade so
you don’t have to.’

Both the newspaper’s parent company, Block Communications Inc.,
and the radio station’s owner, Jacor Communications Inc. (a
subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications), agreed to abide by
the terms of the consent order issued by Judge J. Ronald Bowman
of the Lucas County Common Pleas court.

In the order, the station agreed to give proper attribution to
the newspaper when it is used as a source for local news.

In an interview with The Blade, Fritz Byers, general counsel
for Block Communications, said: ‘The Blade invests vast resources
in uncovering, investigating, and reporting the news. This order
establishes that we have a protectable property interest in the
news stories we produce.’

It’s not known if the court order will be used to establish legal
precedent in similar cases, but Byers said the consent order
provides a model that newspapers and broadcast outlets can use to
resolve such disputes. Many in the newspaper business feel that
radio and TV journalists often rely heavily on newspaper reporting.

‘Radio and television stations around the country have a long
history of using newspapers’ stories without attribution,’ Byers
told The Blade. ‘The order is exemplary. It sets forth the correct
legal rules that should govern the relationship between the print
media and the broadcast media.’

The order places restrictions on Standriff, saying that he may
use information from the newspaper only if he broadcasts an
‘accurate and fair attribution to The Blade.’

The Blade has had contentious relations with more than one radio
personality. In January, Blade staff writer Sandra Svoboda sued
a radio shock jock for falsely accusing her on-air of sleeping
with her boss, Co-Publisher and Editor in Chief John Robinson
Block. That DJ works for WVKS-FM, another Clear Channels property.


Staff Reports

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