Blogging

Why You Must Be Careful When Rewriting News Articles for Your Blog

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Bloggers often struggle with the proper ways of rewriting news articles to create new content on their sites.

I’m often rewriting news articles for this blog. As a blogger, I want to make sure at least some of my content relates to current events.

I wrote before about evergreen content, which does not rely on current, trending topics. Evergreen content definitely has its place. Over the long run, it’s far more likely to bring in page views for a longer period of time after you publish.

You will find times when some new current situation unfolding inspires you to write a post. That post, hopefully, will resonate with you and your readers. But how do you write that content when you need to incorporate news coverage?

My real job involves journalism, so I’m in a position where I see both sides of that coin.

If you need to write a post based on news coverage, I really hope your answer isn’t to simply copy and paste. That’s a huge mistake. It’s copyright infringement. It’s plagiarism.

It can get you sued and it can prompt the copyright owner to file a DMCA Takedown Notice against your website and as a result, your entire site can go down.

You’ll have to take my word it: It can actually happen. I had to file a takedown notice once myself. It’s not a pleasant thing to have to do, but it can be necessary at times.

Being accused of ripping off someone else’s work can also hurt your credibility as a blogger and a writer. So you want to make sure you do everything you can to avoid plagiarism.

Take it seriously…because it’s a very serious issue.

How can you safely rewrite news articles?

If copying and pasting is out of the question — and please know: it is out of the question — what should you do? This article at BloggingPro has some suggestions. And you can see the first step: linking to the source.

There are plenty of ways to do this. You can write an introductory paragraph in which you mention the site and include the link. Or you can provide a quote in your article and hyperlink a portion of the quote to let people know the source you’re using. (This is what I typically tend to do about 90% of the time.)

A third way is to add a source line at the bottom of the article, along the lines of this:

Source: Blogging Pro

Either way, it makes it clear that you are referring to someone else’s work as a foundation of your article.

Note that I said foundation. Your blog post should be something more than just the coverage. If all you’re going to do is quote the source material of the coverage itself, then no matter how much you rewrite or paraphrase, you’re still copying someone else’s work.

You need to go beyond that.

Give it your perspective. Provide your viewers with your take on the story or any personal experience you have with the subject. Is the story about a decision you agree with? Tell your audience why. Do you disagree? Explain why you take that position. Let your passion on the subject shine through as you take on the subject.

The news article, then, should be the launchpad for what you’re writing, not the extent of it.

But I go one step beyond that.

Call it the marketing guru in me, but I always try to look for something to use to “tease” the original content. For example, let’s say I’m writing about a list someone else published on 11 steps to avoid plagiarism. I may write a post about two or three of those steps and explain why those particular steps are so important. I’ll then add a line like this:

You can read the other steps here.

The word here, of course, would also be a hyperlink to the original story. In doing so, I’m trying to promote the content I’m basing my content on. Even if I disagree with something about the post, I still want to draw people to that original piece. Maybe they got it right and I’m the one who got it wrong. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility, you know.

Maybe I’m writing about a medical condition and I know someone who had a very different outcome. At some point in my post, I’ll mention the original article a second time, pointing out that the person they wrote about had a different outcome and that you can read about that experience at that link.

It’s a courtesy that I hope others would provide for my site, so I do it for them.

And yes, you can read BloggingPro’s full article about rewriting news articles right here.

See how easy that is?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.