News of Shins Man’s Domestic Violence Incident Blazes Through Blogosphere In a Way Some Might Compare to Wildfire


Take a member of a band that has been collectively hyped–and, of late, fashionably backlashed against–by the indie rock blogosphere, add in his ex-girlfriend, who happens to be a model previously on the much snarked-on America’s Next Top Model, throw in a Live Journal entry with accusations of violence (now hidden, but still cached), add a digital photograph of a bruised limb, and finish with a police report, and you have the makings of a hot blogger story.

But the spread of the story raises the problematic issue of proper attribution in the blogosphere. In other words: who “broke” this story? Does “breaking a story” even have meaning within the blogosphere?

Several hipper blue-chip pop culture/indie rock/celeb snark blogs posted on the story. The Modern Age had a thorough (and still best) account of the incident posted by Jan 5th. There is no time of day on their post, but the first comment on the post comes in at 9:09 pm. Brooklyn Vegan had their post up the same night, with a timestamp of 9:58 pm, presumably EST. Goldenfiddle had the news the same day, with the first comment coming in at 10:43 pm (presumably also EST). However, Goldenfiddle has the advantage of being able to point to a link he posted a day earlier on January 4th to Elyse Sewell’s Live Journal, giving him the claim of having of brought a fairly dormant minor celeb to the foreground a day earlier, conceivably putting her and her Live Journal page back on the radar just prior to her entry. Pitchfork put up their take at 7:00 am on Jan. 6–without a single nod to any of the aforementioned blogs that beat them to the web with the story, instead only citing the original Live Journal entry and the related police website. One wonders how they just happened upon the story–perhaps they were just browsing the Sacramento County Sheriff’s website, as we all do. Jezebel and Idolator, a pair of disparate Gawker blogs that, together, nicely spotlight the overlap of interests in the story (namely indie rock schlubs, anything Tyra-related) followed suit with posts early on Jan. 6. Idolator, perhaps already realizing that the story had already ran as “news,” went the “meta” route, commenting on the comments over at BV’s thread. (Brooklyn Vegan’s comment threads these days serving as a de facto hipster opinion/snark chorus. [See related: The Braffing of Daft Punk or…]) Finally, I’m either impressed or suspicious–sorry, it’s in my nature–that Stereogum has resisted the story for an easy hot topic, at least thus far.

Rachetting up the debate over attribution, some online-only pseudo-newspaper ad-trap generically called “The Post Chronicle” ran a story that mines the details and even the tone of The Modern Age’s account. The Modern Age rightfully calls bullshit on that.

This kind of “breaking” of news stories vs. posting/re-posting/blogging conundrum would seem to be at the center of the recent Gawker Media staff realignments, so we’re likely to see more discussion on this issue of attribution as the influential syndicate widens their scope from pure Snark to incorporate hard news.

Last update: Jan. 7, 3:36 pm PST