Monday, May 3, 2010

What's Your Information Worth?

SOMEONE CLAIMED TO find a prototype of the new Apple iPhone at a bar in California, and they took the phone to the tech website Gizmodo. After examining the phone and determining its authenticity, Gizmodo purchased the phone from the finder for $5,000.

Is there anything wrong with that?

After photographing and filming the phone, Gizmodo contacted Apple and returned the phone (with no fees involved).

Police raided the home of Gizmodo's editor
, investigating whether Gizmodo illegally obtained the phone (i.e. stole it).

Would this have become a problem if Gizmodo had not purchased the iPhone from the person who found it at a bar? Did paying for the information make it seem sketchy?

Should journalists pay for information? And how do you know how much to charge?


Nicole m Recek said...

I dont think journalist should have to pay for information, if they are good at their job, researching and finging out things should be there prioriety.

Joe said...

I think the amount they charged had something to do with this weird Calif. law. Like, it would only be purchasing stolen goods if they paid in excess of $5,000? Or if they paid upwards of $5,000 it couldn't be considered theft? I'm not exactly sure. As far as the whole Gizmodo incident is concerned, it's totally sleazy but I'm pretty sure they got enough traffic to justify it. Which absolutely SUCKS - the fact that you have to buy a scoop now because your TRAFFIC depends on it? You could tie the whole Chris Weingarten 140Con rant into that:

Dan P. said...

I read that in California you have to make a "reasonable" effort to find the owner of lost property or you could be charged with theft and apparently the guy who found it made next to no effort to do so while the Apple guy that lost it called the bar a bunch of times looking for it. I bet he was trying to impress people at the bar and lost it. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets fired.
I don't understand why Gizmodo paid $5,000 for it if they were just going to return it. Did they try it out then write about it or something? Or did they buy it then realize they pretty much had to give it back?

Michael said...

I don't think routine journalism would have gotten the job done. It's not like Gizmodo is full of lazy shits who don't want to investigate. This product doesn't exist yet. Before Gizmodo got the new iPhone no one else had seen it. This was the holy grail for Gizmodo as far as I am concerned. Paying for information sucks. But again, I don't have high standards for news that isn't important. The functions of the new iPhone don't matter.

Theodore Wohlsen said...

The Apple industry is just annal. Their employee messed up big time and they are planning on compensating by pretending there is a criminal to bring "justice" to. However, the initial "stealer" of the prototype did not abide by the "good Samaritan" law. He should have either given the phone to the bartender, or called the owner or owner's contacts in the morning. He screwed over the apple employee big time. However, he did stumble into a gold mine so it is hard to blame him on any other precedent than one's own jealousy. As for the journalist who bought it, this action is no different than buying something at a thrift store where items are often stolen. This is a huge story much like the story in which uninvited guests were able to walk right through security and shake Obama's hand. If the people are charging for the information, it is their unethical nature that is problematic. I guess the journalist could have asked to come over and look at it. I feel like a journalist buying the phone personally and then doing a story on it is okay. I also feel as though the News company Gizmo's buying of the phone is okay. Much like it is okay for a News Company to pay for a trip to a foreign country, as I am lead to believe they often do, I believe it is okay for the company to pay for the apple prototype to be sent on a trip to see a journalist.

Jeff J said...

I actually saw this video on YouTube a while ago and found it sketchy. I had figured myself that Gizmodo had somehow stole the phone from Apple. So i honesty can not blame Apple for the investigation. However, after reading this post the story is much more clear to me. I think Gizmodo should have explained in the video how they obtained the phone. They also should have made it known that they planned on returning it. However, I believe paying for information in a dangerous thing.

Berryman, A said...

I do not feel as if journalist should pay for information. Journalist's job is to get the information by research and getting in contact with others. Journalist should not have to pay for information if they go about searching correctly.

Dan P. said...

Ok then what do you do when Apple is keeping quiet about it and the guy who found the phone is demanding money? Give up on the lead or pay up?

Geo said...

If the finder of the phone demands money, I might give him bus fare. But I wouldn't pay for the info.

Once you start paying for information, people will start telling you stuff just to make money. They become unreliable sources since you, the journalist, have become a source of income for them.

I'd let the finder take the phone elsewhere and hope that others have principles as well. And if I get scooped, oh well.

- George
(the teacher who loves his 1st generation iPhone)

Dawana Holmes said...

I really do not know much about the situation but it seems to me when you buy information from any source it loses it credibility. Another key point is how much do the person charge if they happen to buy information. I guess the more the public wants to know about it the more they can charge.