Chatham — In the ever-competitive world of journalism, one freelance reporter from Chatham has found an innovative new way to ensure that he gets the first opportunity to report on any possible news stories that may or may not hit New Brunswick.
Henry Morris had grown tired of having to wait and react to whatever was happening in the news world, and was always finding himself to be the last in line to get the scoop on the big stories — that’s when he decided to do something different.
“I just sort of came up with the idea of calling dibs on any story that came out,” he explained to The Manatee. “So, anytime I heard of a news story breaking or something, I just updated my Facebook status to ‘DIBS’ on whatever the story was about. I then sent out a tweet, updated my LinkedIn profile, pinned it to my board, sent out a Google Plus notification, sent out a message to all my friends on Classmates.com and I’d even do a Vine of me yelling ‘dibs’ into the camera.”
The term “dibs” is used to declare a first claim to something that normally no one has a specific right to. “Dibs” is normally used to call claim to where you would like to sit, or to the last piece of pizza or some other triviality. Morris’s new tactic was unprecedented in the world of journalism, but unfortunately for him, others quickly caught on to it.
“Next thing I know, everyone’s calling dibs,” he expressed with frustration. “I came up with this great idea to stay ahead of the game, and then everyone I knew was using my own tricks against me.”
Morris didn’t just give up, though. Ever the innovator, he quickly put a new plan in place to ensure he would still be the first with the chance to break a hot New Brunswick story. “I wasn’t going to take my foot off of the pedal with this thing,” he explained. “I found an edge, and I wanted to keep it. So, I came up with hundreds of possible news headlines and had them all copyrighted. Now if anyone uses my headlines, they’re in for a lawsuit.”
This idea is not sitting well with Morris’s peers. “This is absurd,” exclaimed Quentin Brown, who writes for the Telegraph-Journal. “You can’t just make up headlines without a story — it ruins the integrity of our profession. We’re reporters, not maker-uppers. The whole ‘dibs’ fiasco was one thing, but this is outlandish.”
Morris defended his actions, saying he was “just trying to be an innovator in his field.” He currently has 137 headlines that are protected under the Copyright Act of Canada.