Three journalism scandals from the past two days:
- Boston.com deputy editor Hilary Sargent, who has been writing about the Harvard Business School professor who went bonkers about a $4 overcharge at a restaurant (#TakeoutGate), was selling t-shirts mocking the professor incident
- Our Bad Media bloggers @blippoblappo and @crushingbort found incidents of the New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwell plagiarizing
- Buzzfeed reported that “leaked emails reveal [New York Times columnist] Maureen Dowd promised to show Sony exec’s husband column before publication,” telling the subject of her piece, “i would make sure you look great”
Care to guess which of the three is more likely to get punished? (Hint: It’s the writer who’s not a brand name.)
- Boston.com executive director for digital strategy and operations Corey Gottlieb sent told BostInno, “Boston.com can confirm that Hilary designed the tee shirt. We certainly don’t condone this type of action and we are dealing with it internally.”
- Regarding Gladwell, New Yorker editor David Remnick told Capital New York, “The issue is not really about Malcolm. And, to be clear, it isn’t about plagiarism. The issue is an ongoing editorial challenge known to writers and editors everywhere—to what extent should a piece of journalism, which doesn’t have the apparatus of academic footnotes, credit secondary sources? … We try to make judgments about source attribution with fairness and in good faith. But we don’t always get it right.” Executive summary: Gladwell made a mistake, but it’s one all writers make.
- It appears New York Times brass is yet to comment on Dowd’s reported transgression. In 2012, New York Times writer Mark Mazzetti forwarded one of Dowd’s columns to a CIA spokesperson prior to its publication. Mazetti still writes for the New York Times.
Our bad media indeed.