Cat out of the bag

by Joel Sherwood

Some people saved lives this week. Others fought for humans rights. With this blog, we strove for justice in a story about a cat.

The Telegraph told me its cat story has been changed. The story now has The Local as a source, and a link to The Local's cat tale.

Photo from The Telegraph

Photo from The Telegraph

So the cat is out of the bag: as suspected, a big UK paper failed to mention it took parts of a story it published from a smaller (but rising) news site in Sweden.

But I see a couple cool things in this. The first is with The Telegraph. They didn't have to answer me and they didn't have to update their story. I think it was big of them to do both.

The other cool thing is with blogs. Big blogs get their voices heard. But this is not a big one (yet!), and we were able get a media company to be a bit more ethical. Beloved readers: never doubt that we can accomplish what we want to accomplish on stories about household animals.


by Joel Sherwood

I saw a story about the world's oldest cat living in Sweden. It was in The Telegraph. The main quotes were word-for-word the same as a story in The Local. Even the punctuation in the quotes was a carbon copy. This made me curious.

The Local typically does its own translations of Swedish news with its own staff. Here in The Telegraph, a respectable but troubled UK paper, was The Local's exact translation and almost exactly the same story content. The Telegraph story was published a day later and doesn't mention The Local.

Did The Telegraph copy The Local's article? I asked The Local about this.

"I can confirm this story was written by our staff journalist," said James Savage, Managing Editor of The Local. "This kind of thing happens all the time, especially with the UK papers. It's frustrating."

I've tried to reach The Telegraph, but no response so far. I'll keep trying. 

I've been reading news from Sweden for years. You sometimes see shady journalism from credible news sites for stories in different languages. For example, a story in a Swedish paper taking full credit for news that's already appeared in the UK. You also see silliness on breaking news, such as being the first to do a Swedish story in English. A story can be plastered all over Swedish papers and social media, but a site that translates the story first can sometimes claim it broke the story too. Well, maybe.

With the cat story, evidence suggests a big UK paper swiped a story that's already been done in English elsewhere. As Savage says, this happens all the time. That doesn't mean we should accept it, right.

In this post, I think I'm trying to say two things: 1) kudos to those who still do international journalism right; and 2) a 29-year-old cat - that's amazing.


by Joel Sherwood

This is Stockholm's winter sports break week. Kids are free from school and a lot of parents are away from work. But we can't all be off. Some of us still have to man the office and work hard.

Copenhagen shooting

by Joel Sherwood

Remarkably...the seminar continued after the shooting.
— NY Times

Tragic news this weekend on shootings at a free-speech seminar in Copenhagen. But one of the most remarkable aspects: after the rounds of gunfire ceased, the seminar continued. I found that a powerful response.

A lead story in Sweden's top newspaper predicted Sweden will face similar attacks. Sweden shares many of the same values as Denmark, and Lars Vilks, the gunman's likely target Saturday, is Swedish. Throw in a very open immigration policy together with growing Islamophobia, and it's easy to see friction ahead.

But as with the Paris attacks, there's no call for a backlash against all immigrants because of extremists. I hope all who stand up for the rights and needs of immigrants and refugees do what the seminar participants did Saturday: continue in the face of danger.