Credit and Coincidence

One month ago, I wrote a post based on a question that randomly came to mind: Why the umbrella? That is, why are umbrellas used in the frevo dance? Researching the question and creating the post took a good amount of time, as do most of my posts here on Eyes on Recife. They involve my time, aforementioned research (which involves digging through anywhere from 2-3 sources to sometimes 20 sources), translation (which I do myself), and an interest in discovering and presenting something new (that isn’t available in English). My post also got mentioned on Twitter by Brazil Character Lab, who everyone (who likes, studies and writes about Brazil) follows. That means a lot of Brazil-focused journalists potentially saw it.

One month later, that is, yesterday, NPR came out with an article about Carnival in Recife, where the last bit on the umbrella origin I imagined was taken from my blog and repurposed for the story. Before calling out NPR on this coincidence, I did a quick Google search for “frevo umbrella” and saw the first result was none other than Wikipedia…in English.

Since there’s just so little out there on Recife in English, I immediately look for ideas and content in Portuguese (and I cite them). It rarely, if ever, dawns on me to check the subject in my own language because I know the odds that I’d actually be successful. In this particular case, what seemed black and white, is now grey and as such I can’t complain.

I suppose I’m also bringing this to light because I’ve come across more than several examples of things I’ve researched and published, here and on some of my other blogs, appearing shortly after on other sites, both big and small. All without giving a mention. It’s frustrating, but at the same time I know I’m not exactly creating new content as much as I’m locating and making visible otherwise hidden content that already exists somewhere.

In effect, it’s my fault for operating in an always-grey area, for forever being the messenger. There’s no need to kill (nor even love) the messenger, but getting mentioned is always appreciated. [/rant]

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