Joe Miller: Thou Shalt Not Steal, Star Clings to Power at 18th & Grand

I was pleasantly surprised recently when I stopped by Midwest Voice’s, one of the Kansas CIty Star’s blogs, and read a post by YaelAbouhalkah about a story that ran in the Pitch

Yael commended the story’s author, David Martin, which was wonderfully magnanimous. The fact that someone at the Star even mentioned David and the Pitch at all was a momentous occasion in itself.

I thought maybe the Star had finally changed its ways, that its reporters and editors had finally decided to stop pretending that they’re the only journalists in town and that they never get scooped.

But then I checked back at Midwest Voices the next day and found a Barb Shelly post commenting on an article by Matt Campbell about some med school students who got in trouble for playing with a placenta.

The Pitch had that story three days earlier.

And I happen to know exactly where and how Pitch reporter, Nadia Pflaum, got that story, so there’s no doubt in my mind that the Star was following up on the Pitch’s exclusive.

Did the Star give Nadia credit?


I’ve been there, lots of times.

The worst was when TWO reporters for the Star wrote a story about Emanual Cleaver receiving government funds to buy a car wash in Grandview — two years after I had broke the story in the Pitch.

As soon as I read the Star’s rewrite of my work, I emailed both reporters.

One denied that they’d done anything wrong, saying that they had added a couple of details that wasn’t in my story.

As if that made it any less my scoop.

The other reporter told me pretty much the same thing. I wrote back and pointed out that the national papers — the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc. — always credit one another for the parts of ongoing stories that their competitors break.

There’s no rule demanding they do so. It’s just good sportsmanship.

To my surprise, the Star reporter wrote back saying he agreed.

In my opinion, the Star’s stubborn refusal to give credit where credit is due is not just rude. It’s strong evidence that the Star is an institution of power, no less vainglorious than the Mayor’s Office or the City Council.

It’s all about image — in this case, the image of being the only consortium of scribblers who can break news.

Seriously, what’s the difference between the Star claiming the Pitch’s stories as their own and Mayor Funkhouser taking credit for balancing the budget when it was the members of the Council who got it done?

And don’t even get me started on transparency. The Star is the most secretive institution in this city.

But I’ll leave that for a post another day.

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11 Responses to Joe Miller: Thou Shalt Not Steal, Star Clings to Power at 18th & Grand

  1. ,v;reoe98` says:

    Yeah, but nobody reads The Pitch, and nobody reads you. So it’s fair game. Deal with it.

  2. Eric says:

    5:12 I still read The Pitch and I know plenty of people that do. Most of their racks are always empty by Friday which is a lot more than I can say for that other weekly rag in town.

  3. chuck says:

    Joe speaks truth to power.
    Bloggers wax, while dead tree media wanes.

    Fannin and Zieman, on thier best days, must see themselves on that cliff with Butch and Sundance.

    “Who ARE those guys?”

  4. gfnd says:

    The Pitch is very close to moving into 18th and Grand anyway as a cost-saving measure (light, heat, Internet, pubsys) so things aren’t as David-and-Goliath as they seem anymore, Joey.

  5. Rainbow Man says:

    The Pitch?
    I used to read The Pitch avidly but not anymore. Their feature articles are given very few inches, and they are not as cutting edge and investigative as they used to be. The quality of the product has gone down. Maybe the Tat, Goth, Hole in The Ear crowd on 39th Street cleans out the dispensers to see a picture of themselves…. but not me any longer..

    Jen Chen was awesome. Feruzza is not the same since his departure and return. The KC Strip was great. Joe Miller was great. Also… the focus now is so urban core… which is okay…. but open up to good gossip in suburbia… uhhh where the money is.

  6. Markus Aurelius says:

    If the Pitch stopped selling ads to hookers on the back page, among other things, people might consider it a legitimate source of news. Unfortunately, any real news to found in this fishwrap wallows in the midst of a bunch of garbage — it’s the same problem the National Enquirer experienced when it broke the John Edwards affair story. If the Pitch started acting like a real source of news media it might eventually get treated as such.

  7. harley says:

    I love the pitch
    lots of fun reading and info on the hot spots in kc.
    How many more star chop stories must we be forced to see on this site.
    Joe Miller…don’t know who you are or where you came from or anything about your
    previous writing….but…
    you’ve hit rock bottom. Writing for this site is worse than writing for a high school
    paper. Your career has hit the lowest of low points if you write for this website/blog.
    Good thing for your career is there is only one way to go…UP….BECAUSE YOUR SKILLS

  8. chuck says:

    I try and follow Joe Tone—
    Always good stuff.


  9. John Altevogt says:

    Star plagiarism
    I recall reading a story online from the Washington Post about Harry Truman’s alleged anti-Semitic remarks found in a book a couple of years back. The WAPO story included quotes from folks they’d interviewed. A while later I read The Star’s version of the story written by their Washington correspondents. Oddly enough, their story carried identical quotes from the identical sources, only worded so that it was made to appear as if the Star guys had done the interviews. I questioned someone at the time about it and was told that they could access stuff like that with out specifically crediting the original source.


  10. John Altevogt says:

    I find that the Pitch is consistently fairer to conservatives when they cover them than The Star. The Pitch also covers local scandals far better, and far more often than The Star. I don’t recall that The Star ever covered any of Terry Riley’s scandals and The Pitch was all over them. If I had to read one of them for information, it would be The Pitch.


  11. chuck says:

    I never put that together, but now that Altevogt
    said that, and my pea brain remembers, he is right.

    If ya wanna get the story right from both sides, especially if it is a local scandal, the Pitch will cover the story much better than the Star.

    Hey, things change.


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