Questions over Romenesko’s attributions spur changes in writing, editing

Poynter.org works hard to meet the highest standards of journalism excellence, and I learned late Wednesday that we have not consistently met those standards.

A centerpiece of our editorial work has been the Romenesko blog, which invented a form of aggregation that is widely and deservedly respected. It is also imperfect.

Thanks to the sharp eye of Erika Fry, an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, I now know that Jim Romenesko’s posts exhibit a pattern of incomplete attribution.

Though information sources have always been displayed prominently in Jim’s posts and are always linked at least once (often multiple times), too many of those posts also included the original author’s verbatim language without containing his or her words in quotation marks, as they should have.

Here’s a recent example, with the original author’s verbatim language in bold:

Chicago Tribune says Mayor Emanuel refuses its public records request (Our story | Original story)

The Tribune says Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused its requests for his emails, government cellphone bills and his interoffice communications with top aides, arguing it would be too much work to cross out information the government is allowed to keep private. After lengthy negotiations to narrow its request for two months of these records, the paper was told that almost all of the emails had been deleted. The Tribune notes that Richard M. Daley repeatedly denied similar requests when he was mayor, “but it’s not the practice in major cities across the nation.” The paper reports:

“The [Emanuel] administration provided cellphone records that did not include a single telephone number for either incoming or outgoing calls, making it impossible to discern how the phones might be used to conduct city business. The city said it would be ‘extremely burdensome’ to determine which numbers were public under the law and which were not.

“Emanuel doesn’t have a city-issued phone and uses an aide’s phone to make city-related calls, [spokeswoman Jenny] Hoyle said. The Tribune requested the records for that phone, among others.”

The paper found that the kinds of records it wants from Emanuel are routinely available — in many cases with a phone call or an email request– in Atlanta, Boston, Hartford, Houston, Miami, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Seattle. | Chicago Reader (July 21, 2011): “In his first months in office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been sending and resending the message that he wants his administration to be a model of transparency and openness.”

One danger of this practice is that the words may appear to belong to Jim when they in fact belong to another.

This style represents Jim’s deliberate choice to be transparent about the information’s origins while using the source’s own words to represent his or her work. If only for quotation marks, it would be exactly right. Without those quotation marks, it is incomplete and inconsistent with our publishing practices and standards on Poynter.org.

Our guidelines — which have been published on our site since 2004 — state:

We credit the authors and creators of the various forms of journalism we publish. We apply appropriate scrutiny to work by staff and contributing writers to prevent plagiarism, intentional or otherwise. We do not intentionally mislead with words or images. We do not deliberately deceive as we gather information.

Our practice is to enclose verbatim language in quotation marks, and to set off longer excerpts in blockquotes. While I have no reason to believe this practice has spread beyond one writer, I will check the work of other contributors to determine for certain whether anyone else has been guilty of the same shortcut.

Jim’s situation is unique in that he is the only author in the site’s recent history to publish posts himself without being edited prior to publication. His editors read behind him after he publishes, and often read the original source material, but none of us have noticed the duplicative language.

Some of you may find this sourcing entirely acceptable and disagree that it is unclear or incomplete. Some of you may find it abhorrent and a journalistic sin.

In an attempt to understand the situation as completely as possible, I consulted colleagues whose judgment I value and learned that even within Poynter there is wide variation in how this practice is viewed.

As I listened to their perspectives, these questions formed in my mind, along with some preliminary answers:

  • How much does intent matter? The format and transparency of Jim’s posts credit the original source and direct people to it. There was no attempt to mask the material’s origins or deliberately pass it off as someone else’s.
  • How much weight does the attribution carry? If you begin a sentence with “Newspaper Y says…” do readers believe the words that follow are the newspaper’s or your own? As a reader, I assume text originated with the writer unless quotation marks or blockquotes indicate otherwise. It is incumbent upon the writing and publishing team to signal the reader as clearly as possible. We did not.
  • Is there a different standard for aggregation? This question may generate the most — and most important — discussion. I would argue that proper sourcing and attribution are required across all story forms, though they may be accomplished differently. I do not believe incomplete attribution is inherent to or an appropriate part of aggregation. I coined the term “overaggregation” to refer specifically to instances when too much original material was used in an aggregated post, not as a description of sloppy sourcing.
  • How long has this been going on? Jim says this is how he’s been writing for his 12 years at Poynter and a spot-checking of stories going back to 2005 finds multiple examples of the same practice. For years, those posts were quite short and this practice was less noticeable and perhaps less prevalent. It appears more frequently in recent longer posts; however it will take a thorough review to conclude definitively how extensive this practice has been.
  • How much of our work rests on unspoken understandings? This is a cultural question that concerns me deeply. We spent weeks in 2004 developing explicit publishing guidelines with the understanding and expectation that they would be adopted. How often, how consistently and universally did we articulate our values and standards and confirm that others share them? Not enough. Never enough.

I will continue to wrestle with these questions, as may some of you.

To our knowledge no writer or publication has ever told us their words were being co-opted. That raises some questions of its own. Surely many writers whose words appeared in Jim’s posts have read them there.

In fact, often those writers or their editors are the ones who send us links in hopes we will feature their stories. They are not seeking, nor do they deserve, to have their words used without proper credit. They hope to receive the attention of other journalists who rely on us to point them toward the most interesting journalism issues of the day.

We plan to continue doing that work.

Effective immediately, Jim’s work for Poynter will change in a few important respects. First, it will follow our standards of attribution. Second, it will be edited before it is published. I asked Jim Wednesday night to refrain from publishing while we sorted out this situation, and he has done so. Jim has offered to resign and I refused to accept his resignation. In August, Jim announced his plan to semi-retire at the end of this year.

We are in uncharted territory, marked by uncertainty, which suggests caution. We will continue to evaluate this situation and to be as transparent as possible about what we learn and decide.

You can and should draw your own conclusions.

If you’d like to reach me by phone my office number is 727-553-4336 and my email is jmoos at poynter.org.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • http://www.motmaitre.com/search/label/Blog%20Posts Motmaitre

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. And obsess over irrelevant rubrics.

  • http://www.motmaitre.com/search/label/Blog%20Posts Motmaitre

    Red herring. Why did you suddenly realise this was an issue after 12 years? And just before he resigned? Do you really think the world is so stupid as to think your attempt to sully his reputation is a coincidence happening just as he decides to walk? Shame on you, Julie. This is petty and malicious. Most of all, it fools no-one. The only person whose reputation is sullied is you.

  • Anonymous

    Your admission that various editors read Romenesko”s blog after the entries were posted and failed to find any problems at those times means you need some people on the Poynter staff who have mastered the skills of copy editing. You should be ashamed that your editors apparently are looking only for spelling and grammar problems.

    Copy editing also calls for checking quotes, facts and, in this age, URLs as we used to check phone numbers, proper names and addresses.

    You must be aware of the fact that Romenesko’s blog has been the biggest traffic draw for your site since he moved to Poynter. The writing in most of the rest of your columns is pedantic and dull. Get with it and stop boring your readers. I can hardly wait until Romenesko’s new blog launches.

  • Anonymous

    Your admission that various editors read Romenesko”s blog after the entries were posted and failed to find any problems at those times means you need some people on the Poynter staff who have mastered the skills of copy editing. You should be ashamed that your editors apparently are looking only for spelling and grammar problems.

    Copy editing also calls for checking quotes, facts and, in this age, URLs as we used to check phone numbers, proper names and addresses.

    You must be aware of the fact that Romenesko’s blog has been the biggest traffic draw for your site since he moved to Poynter. The writing in most of the rest of your columns is pedantic and dull. Get with it and stop boring your readers. I can hardly wait until Romenesko’s new blog launches.

  • Anonymous

    How incredibly unprofessional of you to handle what was an internal policy breach, in a public forum. You failed to address this 8 years ago, as part of the 2004 standards initiative, and ongoing; “none of us have noticed the duplicative language” Moos, 2011).  You should be ashamed Ms Moos. Depending on Poynter HR Policy you should be disciplined and ditto, the laws of Florida, liable.

  • Anonymous

    Poynter is no longer relevant….

  • Anonymous

    Poynter is no longer relevant….

  • Anonymous

    The ethics issue aside, isn’t it also a management issue? Moos has been at Poynter since 2009. Why hasn’t she or anyone else noticed? If Romenesko gets fired, which is like killing a man on condemned row (He was quitting anyway), why not others up the ladder? Especially since they probably still wouldn’t have noticed if CJR hadn’t raised questions.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Your statement is counter to good sense. If someone had been reading for duplicative language, this could have been spotted and addressed sooner.

    Also, it was definitely a problem that editing was defined as “reading behind him after he publishes.”

    These concepts aren’t “picky.” Getting better editors is a goal that should be encouraged, not rejected.

    I have to assume you are one of the many here who is either an aggregator or who thinks nothing should be edited in the interest of expediency/new media. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Your statement is counter to good sense. If someone had been reading for duplicative language, this could have been spotted and addressed sooner.

    Also, it was definitely a problem that editing was defined as “reading behind him after he publishes.”

    These concepts aren’t “picky.” Getting better editors is a goal that should be encouraged, not rejected.

    I have to assume you are one of the many here who is either an aggregator or who thinks nothing should be edited in the interest of expediency/new media. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Truly what person reading Romensko doesn’t understand that this is how the blog has long been aggregated and presented?”

    As someone else used to say, maybe it’s been wrong the whole time.

    Poynter almost certainly should have picked up on this sooner. But as this discussion continues — as full of factless rant and froth as today’s lazy, non-thinking journalists can make it — it becomes apparent that changes were made to the format not long ago. Those changes helped spotlight the copying-and-pasting that was Romenesko’s technique of choice.

    Also, I truly did not realize how many aggregators think that what they do is the same as original reporting. In the process of this discussion, I’ve found one blogger in Minnesota who was using syndicated editorial cartoons at his own site. Possibly photos, too. I’ve also just become aware of another potential issue of unoriginal writing that’s on a much larger scale. Thank you, CJR, for spotlighting this issue.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Truly what person reading Romensko doesn’t understand that this is how the blog has long been aggregated and presented?”

    As someone else used to say, maybe it’s been wrong the whole time.

    Poynter almost certainly should have picked up on this sooner. But as this discussion continues — as full of factless rant and froth as today’s lazy, non-thinking journalists can make it — it becomes apparent that changes were made to the format not long ago. Those changes helped spotlight the copying-and-pasting that was Romenesko’s technique of choice.

    Also, I truly did not realize how many aggregators think that what they do is the same as original reporting. In the process of this discussion, I’ve found one blogger in Minnesota who was using syndicated editorial cartoons at his own site. Possibly photos, too. I’ve also just become aware of another potential issue of unoriginal writing that’s on a much larger scale. Thank you, CJR, for spotlighting this issue.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I don’t know. Maybe he got permission to use those. But I doubt it.

    Also, I see he has a block of single-column head shots of GOP candidates. The credit line says simply: “For The Times.” I see no mention of the full newspaper name. All of his images are fully “embedded” — their addresses are his own site. So there’s no trace of where he got these. I doubt the newspapers keep those editorial cartoons live for long on their sites, so tracking them could be difficult. But I have to assume he’s going to whatever newspaper sites he feels like visiting and just grabbing things.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    An excellent point. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until now after it was buried under the frothing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    Wow. Is Mark plagiarizing? Unbelievable

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    Yes Robert. Mark does.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Someone in one of the threads claimed there had NEVER been any questions about Romenesko’s posts. I bring the following (it’s my own writing, but I’ll put quotes on it, and if you need a link, it can be added):

    “A recent link from poynter.org to a blog has again shown the hypocrisy of the underachieving Poynter Institute. The blog item accused the Indianapolis Star of blocking 911 calls from the newsroom. It claimed these calls had to be routed through security, and that this rerouting presented a problem when a newsroom employee needed urgent medical attention. The employee later died. Poynter’s Jim Romenesko linked to the blog item, apparently without verifying any of the claims and without talking with Star management. Later, Romenesko’s site did add a comment from Star editor Dennis Ryerson, and then the original blog item was updated with revised information about the incident. But the original claims were already making their rounds of the Internet by the time the new links were established. If any other organization had done something like this, Poynter would be all over it, wringing its hands about a breach of ethics and throwing down judgment from its ivory tower. Poynter(‘s) Bill Mitchell offers the following: “Did Romenesko try to independently verify Holladay’s allegations? Did a Poynter Online editor review Romenesko’s link before he published it? Did Romenesko seek comment from someone at the Star before publishing the item? The answer to each of those questions is No.” These were serious allegations. I don’t understand how there can be any excuse for not trying to confirm the details. The result? While Romenesko’s blog will continue to provide the few glimpses we ever have of an industry that does no self-policing outside of inconsistent, patchwork discipline in individual newsrooms, his credibility has taken a serious hit. We see that he and Poynter, with their failure to observe basic news-gathering guidelines, are the epitome of the emperor with no clothes.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Peter, if you go through Heidi’s posts, you’ll see she has a habit of ignoring context, picking out one point, and then extrapolating that across the entire field of her response. That way she doesn’t have to think — something I assume she’s not very good at.

    So, in this case, she probably does view the Twitter responses as equal to the original article. Sadly, she’s far from alone.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands
  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    According to the failed aggregator, Mark Gisleson, who apparently has a Facebook page begging for him to be hired as a Star-Tribune columnist, based on God-knows-what qualifications.

    http://www.minnesotademocratsexposed.com/2007/01/29/bloggers-unbelievable-excuse-for-frankens-tasteless-comments/

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands
  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    http://norwegianity.wordpress.com/

    http://www.minnesotademocratsexposed.com/2007/01/29/bloggers-unbelievable-excuse-for-frankens-tasteless-comments/

    Mark apparently is an aggregator, so no wonder he backs Romenesko’s copy-and-paste methods. Notice the reuse of editorial cartoons in his own blog.

    CJR might be on to something here. I wonder how many people are copying the work of others under the title of aggregator.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I didn’t bring up James Joyce, though, or the concept that because he broke rules, then everyone should.

    You have a strange way of ignoring a lot of the context of a response and then trying to make an argument based off that ignorance. Likely it’s intentional.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Marc, pretty much. I am starting to wonder how many of these people were “aggregating” themselves and were likely using the same copy-and-paste techniques Romenesko was. CJR might have uncovered something here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands
  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    One troubling thing: It appears Mark is an aggregator, too. I wonder if behind the scenes, there are a number of people who have been copying-and-pasting in the Romenesko fashion, and that’s why there is so much rancor here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    From the brief Google search I did, with indirect prompting from Markymark, it appears Markymark is an aggregator in Minnesota. Apparently he or someone else created a Facebook page to call for Markymark to get a column in the Star-Tribune based on his aggregation “skills.” (Placed in quotes, as I have never heard of the guy, so I don’t know if he has any skills. Based on these posts, I lean sharply toward “no.”)

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Not sure why you’re back to me, Markymark, but I laugh about that link. Basically it’s someone who buried his head in the sand about the erosion of the copy-editing profession, and now he’s been proved wrong.

    You do make one semi-coherent point that has been mentioned elsewhere. Some people are annoyed because Moos used phrasing other than “I wrote this because …” I assume the organization made a call to take a pre-emptive strike at the looming CJR piece, and this was the result. I know if I were writing a piece with the organization’s view and not my own, I would avoid taking ownership of said view.

    Sorry, Markymark, but I didn’t waste time Googling you. Is it worth my time? 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    If you were up at 5 a.m. to look at the Romenesko posts, then you have some issues.

    I’m curious as to why many people are so bent out of shape about this change, especially when Romenesko was about to move on anyway. After all, someone else was generally doing the heavy lifting to get the information he was aggregating. I still think people here would have been singing a different tune if someone other than Romenesko were taking their stories practically verbatim and posting them somewhere.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Joey, hate to break this, but one of the conditions of viewing those reports is they aren’t to be republished.

    Again, you are so busy trying to stalk that you muck up your own point through sheer ignorance.

    If you’d like, I can give you the URL where you can sign up. But you’d have to take it from there. You don’t seem as if you’d be able to handle that part of the task.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Joe, I guess I’m not sure what point you were trying to make. As I predicted, many more people came in to say what Romenesko did was not plagiarism.

    Those posts would almost certainly be … (wait for it) … about Romenesko. Seems as if you would be wrong. Or maybe you were so busy trying to stalk that you lost the concept of making a comprehensible point.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Then your side lost the argument quite a while ago, even before I made a single post here. Just read through the sea of ignorance here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    So you think anything should be included in a discussion, so long as it is from social media, even if it is merely an attack? Good to know.

    Just to clarify any confusion you might try to create — the idea is for Poynter to filter those tweets. They appear on their site, which has clearly stated rules for posting. Tweets and retweets should definitely fall under those guidelines. Why would they be exempt?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Joey, Joey, Joey:

    Let’s try to help you out here, you confused person. Now why would I link to it when I could quote the original text — the point of the post to begin with? People would then have to click the link and then come back to the rest of the post.

    Also, if someone changed or edited the portion I’m calling to attention, then the point would be lost.

    Are you really this dense, or are you just getting desperate to try to continue stalking?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Journalism shouldn’t be cutting-and-pasting, either. And it definitely shouldn’t be the discussion process you and others have displayed here. At some point, too many journalists became proud of ignorance.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    So, in summary, if you define it as aggregation, then there’s no need to quote, paraphrase, or rewrite. One can simply copy and paste, just so long as there’s a link somewhere. Never mind that the link might die or be changed at some point.

    Got it. Thanks for playing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    The recent entries weren’t summaries, though. They were verbatim passages pulled from the articles. Did you read the example?

    Like I said, original language would be different words. I don’t know how you would read that and then come to the conclusion you did here, other than you must be another journalist who can’t really read and comprehend well, so you create straw-man arguments like the one here.

    Poynter should have looked into this phenomenon years ago. 

  • Anonymous

    We now have a potential Nixonesque situation with Julie Moos. According to Erika Fry’s article yesterday, Moos said there was “no conscious decision” to make the medianews pieces longer. But Romenesko says in a comment responding to my comment on the Poynter site that there was indeed a conscious decision made while he was on vacation. Who to believe? I think we need a Watergate committee here to look for gaps on the tape. Seems to me this ups the stakes for the Moos administration. Here’s Romenesko’s comment in response to my comment:
    Romenesko 44 minutes ago in reply to HarrisWriter
    >> Moos claims there was “no conscious decision” [PLEASE NOTE THAT I PUT THAT IN QUOTES] to make pieces longer<< There was, in fact, a conscious decision to make the pieces longer. I went on vacation for a week during the summer and my former Poynter colleagues began posting articles long enough that they could justify tweeting back to Poynter, and not the source of the story. That is when this change in ROMENESKO occured.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very simple situation in my opinion. I have read and enjoyed Jim Romenesko’s blog for a very long time. Bottom line for me is that he should be held to the same standards that we expect other bloggers to
    be held to. In fact as a journalist blogging about other journalists, he should probably be held to even higher standards.

    How can we as journalists complain when bloggers take our words and pass them off as their own and allow one of our own, no matter how noble his intentions might be, to do the same? As journalists, we are taught to
    attribute, attribute, attribute. We paraphrase awkward quotes and attribute any passages we lift from other publications, reporters or authors.
    If a blogger lifted a lead or entire nutgraph from a journalist and did not attribute it, we would be furious. Why don’t we hold one of our own to the same standard when he is reporting on what is happening in our industry?
    I don’t believe there is any evil intent in what Romenesko has been doing; but perhaps over the years he has
    gotten a bit complacent when it comes to attribution. How difficult would it have been to attribute and put quote marks on the passages that were written by someone else.?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    And like she said, “actual journalists” are ignorant of the issue.

    Of course, “actual journalists” today could mean just about anything. We are talking about a field that does virtually nothing to screen its hires.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    And like she said, “actual journalists” are ignorant of the issue.

    Of course, “actual journalists” today could mean just about anything. We are talking about a field that does virtually nothing to screen its hires.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    The point that you’re ignorant of how copying-and-pasting hundreds of words isn’t original writing? I’d say she proved that very well.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    The point that you’re ignorant of how copying-and-pasting hundreds of words isn’t original writing? I’d say she proved that very well.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    You should take a break and let the adults post, Joey. You haven’t made an intelligent post in some time now. But it’s good to see you decided to post with a name. Is it worth checking to see if it is yours?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I think it’s more than a little sad. It’s very sad. But it’s also a great reflection on what today’s journalism world has become — lots of whining, crying, ranting little babies who can’t follow a simple guideline on paraphrasing and try to play dumb to avoid doing so, even as they run around claiming they know so much.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Plagiarism does not rest on punctuation.” Um, what? You’re flat-out wrong and ignorant if you really believe that.
    Let’s help you out, sport:

    http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_types_of_plagiarism.html

    “”The Too-Perfect Paraphrase”The writer properly cites a source, but neglects to put in quotation marks text that has been copied word-for-word, or close to it. Although attributing the basic ideas to the source, the writer is falsely claiming original presentation and interpretation of the information.”

     

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Rotten treatment of a fine journalist. I can hardly wait to read Jim’s new blog.”
    No evidence there.

    What is your evidence, Joey? Your strong beliefs? Your inability to comprehend the definition of plagiarism, as explained in most high school English classes, which you probably drooled your way through?

    Please enlighten us as to what evidence you have. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    That’s an excellent point, and one that seems to have escaped many people here. This technique wouldn’t fly at many places, or at least it shouldn’t. With today’s lax, inconsistent standards (a continuing problem in the sharply declining world of journalism), it’s tough to say what could happen.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Well, I assume those are the techniques Poynter was using. That is especially weak. Reading something after it’s gone live to determine if it should then be changed is barely in the realm of editing.

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

    Romenesko was the single thing that “Poynter” has ever had going for it. The single only thing and now you’ve, in a fit of pique, trashed that. Moos, you’re a nebbish and unfit to polish Romenesko’s shoes. Good riddeance to you and Poynter,

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4LJA7G2QGE76USEG52YZAXW7I4 Evan

    God knows the example above isn’t nearly as egregious as most bloggers’ standard practice. Whether the example shows incomplete attribution depends on your definition of incomplete attribution. But according to Poynter’s guidelines, it does, so if you want to defend Romensko, your beef is with the rigidity of explicit guidelines that were already in place. Whether he violated them seems pretty obvious. What’s more interesting to me are the responses in defense of Romenesko from the sources he’s accused of failing to cite. Some of them seem to be refuting Moos’ criticism as if it had been entirely in the sources’ interests, and I don’t think it was. Properly attributing your information is for your (and your organization’s) own good because you and your organization take responsibility for everything you write. Sources are actually smart, in a sense, to defend being incompletely cited because if another writer repeats your statements without crediting you, it’s as if he’s corroborating your statements rather than simply relaying them.

  • Anonymous

    This should be cause for concern: “His editors read behind him after he publishes, and often read the
    original source material, but none of us have noticed the duplicative
    language.” Picky-pencil-editing ever phrase in your blogs is going to demand more editors, better editors, and if that’s been the goal all along, heads should be dipping.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    Replying to myself: All the bolding in that piece was done by Erika Fry at CJR. http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/the_romenesko_saga.php?page=1

    She was looking into possible overaggregation–the kind mandated by Moos–not attributions.

    Of course, Moos didn’t attribute the work to Fry specifically, but what can you do?

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding me????  If I were Romensko, I would hire a good lawyer. 

    Darlin’, why don’t you offer your hatchet skills to those members of the media that have good reason to need them.  This is ludicrous. Something more is going on. 

  • http://twitter.com/GeorgeVlahakis Because it’s Indiana

    As someone whose work has occasionally been featured at Romensko, I find this whole discussion to be utter nonsense. It is clear that Jim has done a fantastic job of aggregating stories about media trends and research, making what is happening to my profession even more transparent. What Jim offers is not a filtered and theoretical view of what is happening to journalism, but the ability to look directly at how it is being practiced and is evolving anywhere and everywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/GeorgeVlahakis Because it’s Indiana

    As someone whose work has occasionally been featured at Romensko, I find this whole discussion to be utter nonsense. It is clear that Jim has done a fantastic job of aggregating stories about media trends and research, making what is happening to my profession even more transparent. What Jim offers is not a filtered and theoretical view of what is happening to journalism, but the ability to look directly at how it is being practiced and is evolving anywhere and everywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/GeorgeVlahakis Because it’s Indiana

    As someone whose work has occasionally been featured at Romensko, I find this whole discussion to be utter nonsense. It is clear that Jim has done a fantastic job of aggregating stories about media trends and research, making what is happening to my profession even more transparent. What Jim offers is not a filtered and theoretical view of what is happening to journalism, but the ability to look directly at how it is being practiced and is evolving anywhere and everywhere.

    And I thank him for that.

  • http://twitter.com/GeorgeVlahakis Because it’s Indiana

    As someone whose work has occasionally been featured at Romensko, I find this whole discussion to be utter nonsense. It is clear that Jim has done a fantastic job of aggregating stories about media trends and research, making what is happening to my profession even more transparent. What Jim offers is not a filtered and theoretical view of what is happening to journalism, but the ability to look directly at how it is being practiced and is evolving anywhere and everywhere.

    And I thank him for that.

  • Wesley Love

    You should really hurry to the bathroom and remove the broom handle that’s lodged so far up your ass you’ve got to be able to taste your own shit.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    That is your most self-unaware comment yet, and that is saying something.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    And for those who missed my link up above:

    http://tinyurl.com/robertknilands
    There’s really nothing special about this flap, Mr. Knilands like to share his opinions with lots of people, repeatedly so.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    Having written over 7,000 resumes, I assure you that often times when people quit or offer to quit, it’s because they’re being fired so badly it’s the only option left.

    I don’t know if that’s the case here, but neither do you or any of the other commenters.

  • Mark Perkins

    You appear to have destroyed your entire site over, what, sour grapes? Excellent work.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    Without knowing what’s going on internally at Pointer, I’m not willing to scapegoat Moos for this post since it’s not clear to me that she was the driving force behind it. Too often this crap is initiated by those who never put their byline on anything other than administrative memos.

    But I’ve read enough of these comments that I did have to google Mr. Knilands, and this is what came up first: http://tinyurl.com/robertknilands

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    Excuse me, but where in Moos’ article did you find the word “plagiarism”?

    So yes, it does matter who you are because you are making the most serious accusation that can be made against a journalist and you are doing so anonymously. Show us your proof, or find some decency within yourself and withdraw from this discussion. In the meantime, I’m just going to assume you’re James O’Keefe, the worlds greatest self-proclaimed expert on journalistic malfeasance.

  • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

    Julie, I am so embarrassed for you.

    You are not only wrongheaded here, you are also mean-spirited.  People who do a superficial reading of this article will come away with the impression that Romanesko has been discovered to be an unethical journalist and has offered to resign because of it.

    It’s only those who read the whole thing, say “what?” and read it again until they really understand that yes, you are being that petty, who will understand that this has nothing whatsoever to do with attribution practices, and
    everything to do with you trying to impose rules on a form of journalism
    you don’t understand. 

    Your stylebook that demands all direct quotes be in quotation marks and all long quotes be indented is fine for article-based narrative journalism, but inappropriate and unhelpful for blogs.  Romanesko’s blog style, bolding his attributions to differentiate them from his own words, is sensible and has actually inspired the stylebooks of online newsrooms across the country. 

    Any sensible person would update the stylebook with blog styles and article styles, as thousands of newsrooms do, rather than attempting to publicly censure one of the most respected and most widely read bloggers in journalism. 

    Did you only just now begin reading the blog?  How has this egregious practice of poor journalist ethics displayed by pioneering online style rules escaped your attention until now?  No wonder Romanesko quit.

  • Anonymous

    And let me add: I’ve read this page for years, but wasn’t moved until today to leave a comment about anything. Sadly, I suspect today will be the last or near-last day I look at this page. It was a daily ritual during the final years I worked at a newspaper, and continued as a ritual in the 3-plus years since I left. I’m almost certain that’s over, and will be replaced by a daily reading of Jim’s blog…

  • Anonymous

    And let me add: I’ve read this page for years, but wasn’t moved until today to leave a comment about anything. Sadly, I suspect today will be the last or near-last day I look at this page. It was a daily ritual during the final years I worked at a newspaper, and continued as a ritual in the 3-plus years since I left. I’m almost certain that’s over, and will be replaced by a daily reading of Jim’s blog…

  • Anonymous

    And let me add: I’ve read this page for years, but wasn’t moved until today to leave a comment about anything. Sadly, I suspect today will be the last or near-last day I look at this page. It was a daily ritual during the final years I worked at a newspaper, and continued as a ritual in the 3-plus years since I left. I’m almost certain that’s over, and will be replaced by a daily reading of Jim’s blog…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7XFESTVKZLZQI7KC2IUZLWAQLM Brian

    Could it be that you are bashing Romenesko because you know that he plans to start his own website? This comes off as trying to discredit the man just before he ‘launches’ a new part of his life. By the way, where were the editors during all these years? Where were you? If Romenesko is to be frowned upon now — does that not mean that Poynter should be frowned upon as well? Be careful of the message you try to spin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aima-Littetipot/100002324462052 Aima Littetipot

    Also, “bye bye” Poynter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aima-Littetipot/100002324462052 Aima Littetipot

    Also, “bye bye” Poynter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aima-Littetipot/100002324462052 Aima Littetipot

    “Thanks to the sharp eye of Erika Fry, an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review,”

    You can’t be serious, can you?  Erika Fry, a spoiled little Ivy-League position climber does “diligence” on a respected reporter who has ALWAYS pointed people to original sources, and you besmirch that reporter.

    In the big picture, this raping of Jim’s good name and reputation is a miscarriage of journalistic justice, and personal ethics. Given these actions by Ms. Moos and Ms. Fry, I would be very cautious about hiring them in ANY environment where they are required to manage people, or responsible for making good journalistic judgments.

    Julie Moos, and Erika Fry, you have just disgraced yourselves. Shame!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IMLR4GKWKVS3HXENVKWTCQYSEE Loel L. Lund

    From a non-journalist’s viewpoint I have never considered Jim’s comments to be anything more than precis. 

  • http://buildingordinary.blogspot.com Kathryn Grace

    While it is common practice for media of all sorts to use verbatim press releases without quotation marks or blockquotes, a practice I find unethical, to do as you depict in your example is plagiarism and Romenesko should have known better. Your editors bear culpability as well. They should have caught it with any of the online tools that make duplicate content checking as easy as typing in a URL. For shame!

  • http://buildingordinary.blogspot.com Kathryn Grace

    While it is common practice for media of all sorts to use verbatim press releases without quotation marks or blockquotes, a practice I find unethical, to do as you depict in your example is plagiarism and Romenesko should have known better. Your editors bear culpability as well. They should have caught it with any of the online tools that make duplicate content checking as easy as typing in a URL. For shame!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. You’ve just proved my point.

  • Anonymous

    What a silly, sad and ultimately stupid way to end a relationship responsible for far more eyeballs landing on this site than any other feature. And this was a relationship that was going to expire in another few weeks, anyway.That anyone could see plagiarism in the excepting of stories on a page that exists to call attention to those excepted stories is beyond me. But even granting, for the sake of argument, that this was a legitimate concern, calling it out in a snippy, public post on that page is just bad form. Julie, you impress me as someone who conspicuously chastises a child in front of his peers and their parents for having his shoes untied at the class holiday show.

  • Anonymous

    Julie Moos: time to go.

  • Anonymous

    Julie Moos: time to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    She lives in a town called “Safety Harbor.” It’s all almost too perfect. 

  • Anonymous

    Julie Moos should resign forthwith.

  • Anonymous

    Julie Moos should resign forthwith.

  • Anonymous

    So is everyone here in the comments saying that Jim Romenesko’s reputation puts him above plagiarism? Commenters who have been linked by Jim say, “He linked us. I don’t give a crap about the lines that he lifted verbatim.” Well, Poynter gives a crap and sets that standard.

    And to those who are saying, “I wouldn’t even be coming to Poynter if it weren’t for Jim,” I say, good for you. That’s why Poynter wouldn’t accept his resignation. Duh.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisKelly74 Christopher Kelly

    Truly what person reading Romensko doesn’t understand that this is how the blog has long been aggregated and presented? Has Ms. Moos never before bothered to look at the blog being produced by her own organization? (It took an eagle eye at the Columbia Journalism Review to help her notice?) The wrong person is being asked to resign here. God save the practice of journalism from the martinets who thump their rule books on the table while the entire industry founders. 

  • Brenda Kwang

    Julie, I keep calling you and calling you and calling you at the office, but you don’t pick up. You gave out your number in your explanatory post, yet you seem to refuse to dialogue. Pick up the damn phone! It’s Brenda, your “friend.” Come Julie. Don’t feel threatened. Pick up the phone!

    Just kiddin’, Julie.

    It’ll blow over. 

  • http://twitter.com/askheidi Heidi DeVries

    You’re the one who brought up high school English classes into the discussion.

  • http://twitter.com/askheidi Heidi DeVries

    You seem to be under the impression that the ONLY thing that constitutes attribution is the use of quotes. You’re wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/askheidi Heidi DeVries

    If you have to resort to personal attacks, we know you’ve lost the argument.

  • Trey Barrineau

    “To all those frothing at how Moos treated Romenesko on this matter, please consider: All she asked is that he be edited”http://wapo.st/vSfKur

  • Anonymous

    “Again, it’s time to change the system of allowing tweets like this to appear.”

    See, when people talk about the ethics of journalism it is THIS attitude that worries me.  Not whether Romenesko did sufficient block quotes.

  • Brenda Kwang

    Julie, you were cosmically foolish in your nitpicking and you have truly cost Poynter readers. I may never read your website again and others are joining me. Was it worth it? Was your “taking on of the big man” more a reflection of your own inadequacies? No to the first question and Yes to the second. Romenesko and his unimaginable power (oh! he wasn’t edited prior to posting!) simply threatened you. Julie, really: no one complained about any of this prior to your madness. What is wrong with you!?

  • http://twitter.com/stevebuttry Steve Buttry

    As I noted in my blog, Romenesko actually met the Poynter standards. The standards require attribution, and in the passage Julie cited, he attributed five times (plus the link). The standards don’t specify how extensively you should quote (Romenesko quoted three times in the example). I’m OK with deciding that you should require more use of quotation marks moving forward, but Romenesko’s work met the Poynter standard cited. The word plagiarism should never have been used in connection with this case: http://wp.me/poqp6-1HM

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Guess again.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Be our guest. Go do some reporting.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Be our guest. Go do some reporting.

  • Anonymous

    I have never been confused over Jim’s posts. This seems more like someone wanted to pick a fight.

  • Anonymous

    I have never been confused over Jim’s posts. This seems more like someone wanted to pick a fight.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Trey, may i suggest inaugurating the Occupy Romenesko movement? The way I see it your biggest challenges will be attracting enough protesters to fill a Smart Fourtwo and getting them to spell his name right.

    Quotation marks all ’round!

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Trey, may i suggest inaugurating the Occupy Romenesko movement? The way I see it your biggest challenges will be attracting enough protesters to fill a Smart Fourtwo and getting them to spell his name right.

    Quotation marks all ’round!

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    You could simply have linked to it (a form of attribution) rather than reproducing the allegedly abusive remarks. I trust that is obvious, at least now.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Bitter, laid-off hacks stand as much chance of standing in the right side of an issue as anyone else. It’s irrelevant.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Yes, in what journalism is not and how not to handle it.

    Unless you’re grooming future Julie Mooses.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    So you’re defining this disaster as “growth and transparency.”

    For the purposes of transparency, can we quote you on that later?

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Romenesko links to his sources. Links are attribution. Plagiarism does not rest on punctuation.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    We have been citing evidence all day.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Something different from post-facto editing or none at all, which I believe are the only available options.

  • http://www.nextlevelofnews.com Steffen Konrath

    I wonder about the discussion. For me there was nether a doubt of what was the source and what not. There was no confusion. I see a need in a story form which allows to display excerpts from other sources in their own language or nearly their own in order to teaser their stories. That is always to the benefit of the author of the stories as her/his ideas get further distribution or attention. Romenensko addressed a specific type of reading habits and readers and that’s beautiful. I was among his readers and Poynter is/was a good source. 
    News is also about news distribution and such sources as his blog have the intend to foster distribution. I try to figure out a way to summarize news of interest from other journalists in the same way as he did in my blog at http://www.nextlevelofnews.com. And Mediagazer does aggregation as well without quotation marks – and when the original source  is always represented as such I see only benefits: for the readers because they get summaries on topics, for the authors, because they increase their reach and standing, for the aggregating site because it offers an answer to a question of some readers. I think the discussion has just started, and my special thanks to Romenesko, for his work, and thanks Julie for your piece here.- Steffen Konrath | blog: http://www.nextlevelofnews.com | Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stkonrath

  • Anonymous

    Ms. Moos, quite simply, you’ll never eat lunch in this town again. Your note is ridiculous. Did you edit it before you pushed “send”? If not, please go back and read it, slowly, once again. Everyone who sent notes/links/essays/thank-you notes to Mr. Romenesko knew how they would be used and handled and displayed. I think that perhaps the best career move for you now is to go back to “doing” newscast graphics. (From Ms. Moos’ bio: Before joining Poynter in 2002, Julie worked for seven years at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., doing newscast graphics … ) Your type, and its pomposity and self-delusion, are fairly mendacious, and when so many other good journalists are out of work, you are wasting space. Please find a new line of work.

  • Anonymous

    Genevieve, are you sitting down? Good.

    THIS ISN’T ACADEMIA. THIS IS JOURNALISM.

    For all the relevance that the grading of university student essays has to the practice of web journalism you might just as well be talking about double-spacing and margin sizes.

  • Trey Barrineau

    Jim Romenesko’s “curation” started getting its ass kicked by RSS long ago. (I know, because I, too, have been a regular reader of his site since the late 1990s.) Nowadays, there is nothing on Romenesko most days of the week that I haven’t already read on Mediagazer, Mediate, Memeorandum, dozens of other blogs or Twitter. He is no longer a first read for me because of that very reason.

    And now, to learn that for years he’s been too lazy to even use his own words on his posts as he basks in the freedom to work from home and a salary of nearly $200,000 a year disgusts me.

    It will be most interesting to see the CJR article when it comes out. I predict that a great many people here defending Romenesko are going to have their feelings hurt.

  • Genevieve McBride

    Wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eva.schweitzer Eva Schweitzer

    The problem is that Miss Moore is giving the impression that he has been fired when it was evidently really him who quit.

  • Anonymous

    Julie,
      Please take a good hard look at these comments and then reconsider what you are doing. While it is no doubt true that respondents here might not be a representative sample in any sense, I certainly agree with the posters who like blackflag2 take Jim’s work to be largely a redirect to pieces he’s picking up elsewhere.
       You may feel as if you are walking on some moral high ground here but I’m guessing the majority of your peers don’t. Wouldn’t it make some sense for you to do a little survey of some of the people Jim has used over the years and find out what they think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/eva.schweitzer Eva Schweitzer

    Here is an Erica-Fry story. I‘m not seeing any “attribution” in that story either, except to some unnamed “Asian editors” Other than that, it seems created out of thin air. Shouldn’t she live be her own sharp-eyed standards? I don’t think attributing a source as “Meanwhile, it’s been reported by human rights groups and media…” counts.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erika-fry/bush-goes-looking-for-rel_b_117295.html

  • Anonymous

    All too often the wrong people in journalism, perhaps as in all fields, end up with the power without knowing the history. It doesn’t seem as if Moos had any concept of the sole person to have the greatest impact on Poynter, as published in Poynter itself:

    How the Romenesko Years have changed journalism and Poynter | Poynter. ow.ly/7q3aC

    I suspect Moos won’t make headlines beyond this.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Uh, where’s the right-wing thing coming from? Quasi, let me know what’s incoherent so I can try to write down to your level. I will say that the deletion of contenunu’s incredibly inappropriate (which yours mysteriously seems to echo — hmm) makes this dialogue harder to follow. I’ll let Poynter handle the clean-up.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBVCOQ64XEIISXPHKV7TWPFFOE Harris

    This is a travesty, combining the very worst of the mindsets of the copy editor and the bureaucrat. I’m sorry, Julie, but I’m afraid you don’t have a clue. Romenesko was the main reason journalists visited the Poynter site and now you’ve lost us. We’ll all go to Jim’s new site. Lordy lord.
    –Harris Meyer

  • http://twitter.com/whillikers wheezie

    Were you ever up at 5 a.m. to look at his blog and discover that there were already dozens of posts? I’ve been reading Jim since Media Gossip. If you invented aggregation and blogging perhaps you would draw a better salary. Personally, I find that a low salary for the work that seems to go into that site. And like Ms. Moos (I’m starting to believe “Moos” is an alias) you must be extremely jealous of intelligence and hard work. Looking forward to his new site.

  • Anonymous

    He wrote, and writes, a blog. That involves quoting other people’s content. And citing it. It’s a style. And yes, everybody or most everybody, is doing it. That’s not an excuse. It’s an observation.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    When is Julie Moos going to UNBOLD the block quote (WHICH HAS QUOTATION MARKS) and the other quote that’s actually in quotation marks? (This one: ““but it’s not the practice in major cities across the nation.” “) You need to fix that, Julie Moos. It’s awfully sloppy reporting. The kind the director of  a media ethics site should really be more careful about.

  • http://twitter.com/whillikers wheezie

    My thoughts exactly. If this comment section is an example, he’ll take 100 percent of the readership and if advertisers are wise, they’ll follow suit. 

  • http://twitter.com/trangelo Tyler Angelo

    Well, if this isn’t the latest and greatest form of a Benedict Arnold

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    I just provided a perfect example. Call it schematics. I don’t care. But he’s lifting exact language from someone else’s work and just because he throws a link up at the top, am I to assume the entire columns is lifted from that article? Then why is some of it lifted and some of it is not lifted?

    The argument seems to be that because Jim has an aggregation site, that whatever he writes in his column is all aggregation, and therefore, he doesn’t need to use quotes, or quote boxes, right?

    So, none of Jim’s columns have any original content at all? None? It’s all lifted material?

    When I read the column used as the example, and when I’ve read his past columns, I guess I stupidly assumed that when he intros into a column, that it was his voice–his writing, because it didn’t have quotes around it.

    But how do you explain his columns that used quotes and then went out of quotes but all of it was lifted from the actual article, as shown in the example?

    It’s freaking plagiarism.

    But no one gave a shat because this isn’t journalism.

  • http://www.yournewsnow.ca Mark Rogers

    Looking at the original post, I would have assumed that everything outside the blockquote and the quote marks was written by Romenesko. Now that I know it wasn’t, I have to say it makes me feel uneasy. In the grand scheme of things, it might not make much difference. We know that it was meant to be representative of the original work. But it seems unprofessional at the least, and perhaps even sloppy and lazy. That said, I hope Romensko continues his work with a new blog. His contributions to the craft far outweigh his shortcomings.

  • http://twitter.com/whillikers wheezie

    That’s exactly how it appears to me. Sour Grapes. Jealousy. If I were an advertiser, I’d fast flee from Poynter as it’s become a dinosaur. Ms. Moos, do you understand synopsis? Why did this suddenly become an issue? Oh, that’s right. Not so long ago, Romenesko announced he was moving on. Shame Poynter!

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    To follow up on the other part of your post: Yes, other journalists copied things word for word. That makes the situation more, not less, of a problem. The “Everybody does it” claim is not really a defense here, especially when Poynter purports to be better than us all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Complete non-sequitur. First, he didn’t use original language. Um, that’s the point, illustrated (albeit somewhat poorly) by the example Poynter used. Original language would be different words. Hence, the word original.

    Your speeding analogy fails badly. If people are caught, they get tickets or warnings. Romenesko sped for 10-12 years apparently and received no tickets or warnings. (Speaking figuratively here, for the amazingly dense or the imminent stalker. A Venn diagram would include both in the middle oval.)

  • Anonymous

    Remarkably incoherent posts, by someone who clearly thinks highly of himself. Unless you’re complaining that fact-checking reporters aren’t writing enough “Right Winger Gets It Wrong” stories – but then that happens so much that it must no longer be news – that explains it. . .

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    Hey Mark, it doesn’t matter who I am. While you defend someone plagiarizing, I’ll sit back and watch as your industry continues to tank because of self-righteous experts like yourself.

    And I love the folks here calling jim a journalist, yet you’ll find these same people trashing the Huffington Post etc. Hilarious.

    Jim isn’t a journalist. He’s made a living off of journalists.

  • http://twitter.com/m_swartz Mike Swartz

    For christ’s sake, you people. 

  • http://twitter.com/belairjeff Jeff Ircink

    can you  spell “anal”?

  • http://twitter.com/strobist David Hobby

    Romenesko’s audience of savvy journos knew what he was doing. He linked the crap out of his posts, so anyone who could read knew just what was and wasn’t aggregated copy. That is why they are all defending him and tar-and-feathering you.

    But as long as we are on the subject of incomplete disclosures, let’s talk about yours:

    “Thanks to the sharp eye of Erika Fry, an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, [WHOSE STORY I AM NOW SCOOPING WITH NO FURTHER DISCLOSURE AFTER HER ON-THE-RECORD INQUIRY] I now know that Jim Romenesko’s posts exhibit a pattern of incomplete attribution.”

    You do realize you buggered Poynter’s reputation and credibility with its entire audience today, right? Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, god. Goodbye Pointer

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I like your use of the exclamation point, highlighting your mastery of the obvious. Did you call up a bunch of other laid-off Gannett employees to celebrate?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I like your use of the exclamation point, highlighting your mastery of the obvious. Did you call up a bunch of other laid-off Gannett employees to celebrate?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I like your use of the exclamation point, highlighting your mastery of the obvious. Did you call up a bunch of other laid-off Gannett employees to celebrate?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    With no evidence cited. Sounds like the “good guy” defense. But don’t let that take you away from your stalking!

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    With no evidence cited. Sounds like the “good guy” defense. But don’t let that take you away from your stalking!

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    With no evidence cited. Sounds like the “good guy” defense. But don’t let that take you away from your stalking!

  • Anonymous

    You’re right on point. And the fact is Poynter.org should have noticed this at some point in the past decade. That it took this long shows much more about Poynter than it does about Jim. (And, no, I don’t believe he’s linked to a single story I’ve written over the years so there’s no bias.)

  • Anonymous

    You’re right on point. And the fact is Poynter.org should have noticed this at some point in the past decade. That it took this long shows much more about Poynter than it does about Jim. (And, no, I don’t believe he’s linked to a single story I’ve written over the years so there’s no bias.)

  • Anonymous

    You’re right on point. And the fact is Poynter.org should have noticed this at some point in the past decade. That it took this long shows much more about Poynter than it does about Jim. (And, no, I don’t believe he’s linked to a single story I’ve written over the years so there’s no bias.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    If you were he, then … well, fill in the blank.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    If you were he, then … well, fill in the blank.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    If you were he, then … well, fill in the blank.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    What the hell is “pre-editing” in your world? Someone actually looking at what’s posted before it goes live? Most sensible people would want that to happen.

    As the radio station here says, the next time David Crosby invites you over for mushroom soup, you should say no.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    What the hell is “pre-editing” in your world? Someone actually looking at what’s posted before it goes live? Most sensible people would want that to happen.

    As the radio station here says, the next time David Crosby invites you over for mushroom soup, you should say no.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    What the hell is “pre-editing” in your world? Someone actually looking at what’s posted before it goes live? Most sensible people would want that to happen.

    As the radio station here says, the next time David Crosby invites you over for mushroom soup, you should say no.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    You should ease off with the drug use before these posts, man. You’re starting to get more pointless as the evening continues.

    Feel free to keep up the personal stuff, though. It makes my point for me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    You should ease off with the drug use before these posts, man. You’re starting to get more pointless as the evening continues.

    Feel free to keep up the personal stuff, though. It makes my point for me.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Don’t you have some tweets to send? I need some more examples of why Poynter should filter that section.

    Contenunu, I know it’s been three years since you were laid off from Gannett. Try to adjust.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Don’t you have some tweets to send? I need some more examples of why Poynter should filter that section.

    Contenunu, I know it’s been three years since you were laid off from Gannett. Try to adjust.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Don’t you have some tweets to send? I need some more examples of why Poynter should filter that section.

    Contenunu, I know it’s been three years since you were laid off from Gannett. Try to adjust.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Don’t you have some tweets to send? I need some more examples of why Poynter should filter that section.

    Contenunu, I know it’s been three years since you were laid off from Gannett. Try to adjust.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Actually, that’s the complete opposite of what I’ve said. Try to read more closely if you’re going to play these amateur stalking games. No wonder you were laid off from Gannett.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry that you decided at this time to rip apart the one person, yes, the one person, who really helped build your site. I wish I could say you’re very impressive, but it’s just the opposite.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    It’d sort of lose the meaning if I referred to a non-specific Twitter post and just assumed people would find it, Einstein.

    Anyway, it’s time to call you out to Poynter. In the past, this sort of back-and-forth would be entertaining. Now it’s just pointless. Feel free to run a victory lap if you wish.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Not as embarrassing as being a bitter, ex-Gannett employee laid off three years ago, though.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    Hey thanks, Contenunu. I was getting tired of cleaning up after that guy. Good to see you on the job.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Contenunu, are you one of those still-bitter, former Gannett people who was laid off three years ago? You sound like you are.

    I think I still have the answer to your question on my clipboard:

    http://www.plagiarism.org/plag_article_types_of_plagiarism.html

    “”The Photocopy” The writer copies significant portions of text straight from a single source, without alteration.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    And I guarantee most English teachers worth their salt would respond to you like this:

    “Great writers have earned the privilege of breaking the rules. Developing writers have not.”

    But what you say has nothing to do with the issue here. It’s straight from the journalist’s playbook: When justifying the shunning of guidelines, try to confuse if you can’t convince.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428470021 Jonathan Hendry

    “One high school English class would tell you that citing a source doesn’t change the problem with using 25 or so words verbatim, all in a row.”

    And a high school English class would fail James Joyce if he submitted most parts of Ulysses for a class assignment. “F. Run-ons. No punctuation. SEE ME AFTER CLASS”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428470021 Jonathan Hendry

    And at no time between 2002 and 2011 had she read Romenesko.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    Because, man, if anybody’s gonna predict where this discussion is going to go, it’s Robert Knilands (no relation).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1428470021 Jonathan Hendry

    “A centerpiece of our editorial work has been the Romenesko blog”

    And you were unfamiliar with the style until now? Way to be familiar with your own site. Such professionalism.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    She just did!

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. Journalists never copy explanations or background word for word. People also never speed on the highway. Jim covered journalism. In a blog. He cited sources. He used original language from those sources. It was all pretty clear to me.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    By your logic, citing a source would allow you to use every word in sequence from The Brothers Karamazov.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    Then don’t perpetuate the Streisand effect by quoting it verbatim, R-Knil.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    “Brain dead Poynter “editor” @juliemmoos drags Jim @romenesko name through the mud by falsely implying plagiarism: http://t.co/DvuKOcHu

    Again, it’s time to change the system of allowing tweets like this to appear. Either start filtering or start deleting. This stuff has no place in a journalism discussion.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Sorry, does not compute. One high school English class would tell you that citing a source doesn’t change the problem with using 25 or so words verbatim, all in a row. The last part about submitting work through an editor isn’t even an argument.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Canon. Not cannon. And he resigned. Not sure what the problem is.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Um, OK. I agree with what you say, but none of it is really a defense of Romenesko, except for possibly the last sentence.

    So, because Poynter dropped the ball on checking his work for 10-12 years, that makes it all OK? Sorry, but Poynter is not anywhere close to what it thinks it is. I bet if I took the handful of solid editors I’ve worked with and brought them to Poynter, they would be light-years ahead of anyone on Poynter’s staff, past or present.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    That sounded very much like “a knock against Jim,” whose “money” is not just “insane” but “[a]bsolutely insane,” sources told this comment forum.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Ah, back to the “what about this” defense. Well, just off the top of my head, AP has an agreement with members, who generally transmit their articles to AP for publication. I doubt Romenesko has such an agreement. Also, what AP does is not that fabulous, either, but that means it makes less sense, not more, to hold it up as a defense for what Romenesko did.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    Those posts won’t be about Jim Romenseko even if they come into existence. Perhaps your friends can write them?

    Roberto, this is getting embarrassing.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    No, it’s the “fine journalist” defence, Robbie.

    You must be new here.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    We’ll just wait for your evidence before we take your side, Bobby.

    Will we be waiting long?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Pointless ranting flagged. I did skim over your nonsense, though. Feel free to let us know what your contributions are, Mr. Anonymous, other than swearing and posting this type of garbage.

    To fill you in on your question, which only highlights your ignorance — The idea is to make sure information is somewhat reliable and not just to link to things that have no credibility. Hope this helps. There might be a Journalism 101 class at your local community college.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    Dude.

    What exactly is an “anti-Gannett blogger,” and why couldn’t Jim link to them? You sound like an off-the-shelf American right-wing asshole, the kind who considers any reporting that isn’t right-wing biased but anything Fox fucking News says objective.

    Or did I get you terribly, terribly wrong?

    Oh, and I forgot – what are your contributions to journalism and blogging again? I seem to have mislaid my notes.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t figure out what the problem is, frankly. It’s a BLOG, for heaven’s sake; blogs are supposed to be breezy and easy to read and not stand too much on ceremony. Get over yourselves, Poynter, or your website might be headed for the Wayback Machine …

  • Anonymous

    I can’t figure out what the problem is, frankly. It’s a BLOG, for heaven’s sake; blogs are supposed to be breezy and easy to read and not stand too much on ceremony. Get over yourselves, Poynter, or your website might be headed for the Wayback Machine …

  • Paul Skolnick

    If you didn’t know Jim’s summaries contained some of the same words as the source stories, you don’t have a pulse! Give me a break. This is adherence to a rule without good reason.

  • Paul Skolnick

    If you didn’t know Jim’s summaries contained some of the same words as the source stories, you don’t have a pulse! Give me a break. This is adherence to a rule without good reason.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t even figure out what the problem is, frankly. It’s a BLOG for heaven’s sake; blogs are supposed to be breezy and easy to read and are not supposed to stand too much on ceremony. Get over yourselves, Poynter, or you will “excellence” yourself out of relevance, if not existence.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t even figure out what the problem is, frankly. It’s a BLOG for heaven’s sake; blogs are supposed to be breezy and easy to read and are not supposed to stand too much on ceremony. Get over yourselves, Poynter, or you will “excellence” yourself out of relevance, if not existence.

  • Anonymous

    Plagiarism defined by Merriam-Webster: “to steal and
    pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use
    (another’s production) without crediting the source”

    I’ve been reading Romenesko since he started. Not once do I remember him ever attempting to claim something else as his own. And you certainly can’t accuse him of not crediting the source.

  • Chris Joyner

    If what Romenesko has posted on his Facebook page is correct — that he begged to be let out of his contract early — it is Mr. Moos who has violated a cannon of journalistic ethics by misrepresenting the statements of a source. 
    There is a clear and substantive difference between offering to resign when caught in an offense and begging to leave the organization when hectored. 

  • DorothyP

    “To our knowledge no writer or publication has ever told us their words were being co-opted”

    So is this about some jr. copy editor trying to prove something? Who reads Poynter without Jim?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JI2MBY6SYRL5BH6QMLJKRMGURI N.

    This is traditionally called, by actual newspaper people (rather than the pompous nonentities at Poynter) “separating flyshit from pepper.”

  • Chris Joyner

    If Romenesko’s Facebook comments that he “begged” to be let out of his contract early are correct, it is Mr. Moos who is guilty of violating a journalistic cannon by misrepresenting a source. 
    There is a clear and substantive difference between offering to resign when accused and begging to be allowed to leave after being hectored.

  • http://twitter.com/thedailystate The Daily State

    Julie, could you please better attribute how you coined the term “overaggregation.” Because there are many references to it before the date of your link.

  • Anonymous

    Amen.

  • Anonymous

    “I’m not outraged at all. I think the problem here is the sources weren’t always cited.” Huh? That seems pretty darn outrageous to me.

  • commenter commneter

    Bad call Julie.  You seem threatened by Jim’s success, but no worries, if he’s smart he’ll leave you in the dust, and take with him 90 percent of your readership.

    He’s no plagiarist.  You sound like a mean, petty, and insecure technocrat with no idea what it means to stand for journalism. Might be time to review that  “What Great Bosses Know..” series…

  • Anonymous

    “Meets accepted academic practices?” Which university are you talking about? Where I went to school, anyone who did this would be expelled.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. If you’ve ever read Romenesko, you know that’s how he’s always done it and you don’t bat an eye. He gives you an “executive summary,” if you will. If the item interests you, click through and read more. If it doesn’t, move on to the next item. Quick. Simple. No-fuss-no-muss. 

    Move along, Poynter, to something of greater significance. How about use of the Oxford comma?

  • Anonymous

    Judging from Jeremy Peters’ NYT blog (http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/journalism-ethics-taken-too-seriously-romenesko-scolded-on-his-own-blog/), seems like JR is already determined to leave Poynter ASAP and start his own website/journalistic concerns. Which may well introduce questions about Poynter’s motives in their decision to spank him so publicly when he has scant weeks left on his contract. I have no definitive sense of the real dynamics at play here, and I’m not trying to point fingers or cast stones, etc. Read the NYT piece and judge for yourself. 

  • Anonymous

    I know that guy!

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. You’d never catch the AP just copying a member paper’s report word for word and slapping an (AP) at the top.

    ‘This is not how it is done in journalism.’

  • Anonymous

    I’ll agree with you there. He played a seminal role. Can you agree with me that Moos is mostly full of it?

  • Randy Loftis

    This reminds me of a cops reporter I knew in South Carolina who would write sentences such as:
    Police said the man had a “gun.”
    I never knew whether he was a rabidly dedicated attributor or whether he was taking jabs at some picky past editor who had gotten on his last nerve. Either way, it made obsessive hyperattribution look silly.

  • Martin Merzer

    You know, in trying to sort through this, the first question that came to mind was, ‘Who the hell is Julie Moos?’

    Well, here’s the answer, and it tells you everything you need to know about the unprofessional, ill-informed, grotesque knee-capping she just inflicted on a respected practicer of the craft:

     Julie Moos (jmoos@poynter.org) has been Director of Poynter Online and Poynter Publications since 2009. Previously, she was Editor of Poynter Online (2007-2009) and Poynter Publications (2006-2009); Managing Editor of Poynter Online and Publications Manager (2004-2006); and News Editor of Poynter Online (2002-2004). Before joining Poynter in 2002, Julie worked for seven years at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., doing newscast graphics, producing, writing and finally as Managing Editor of WRAL.com. You can reach Julie by phone at 727-553-4336 or by email. http://www.poynter.org/author/jmoos/

    marty merzer
    ex-Miami Herald

  • http://twitter.com/mme_hardy MadameHardy

    Fully half the content you bolded — two out of four paragraphs — is *in* quotation marks.  So are “But it’s not in practice…”, which you bolded, and “In his first months…”, which you correctly did not.

    I had no difficulty at all in recognizing the majority of the quoted content as such.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    My explanation is below: Namely that beginning a sentence “The paper says” and then following that with *what the paper says* seems to me to be a letter-perfect attribution already. And as far as submitting work through an editor? Not if what we see here is the only choice, that’s for sure. 

  • Anonymous

    Robert: I’ve been reading Romenesko for 10 years now and never gave one second of thought to how much he makes. Whether he makes 100 bucks an hour or 100 bucks a week is of no consequence.

    What I do know is that I liked what I read here, otherwise I wouldn’t have stuck around for so long.

    The point is that none of the “ethics experts”  here at Poynter ever raised an objection to his use or non-use of quotation marks until a few weeks before his contract was up.

    Poynter’s ham-fisted stance is a text book example of how NOT to handle an issue like this.

    The only remaining question is how many people will show up here once Romenesko’s name is taken off the header.

  • http://twitter.com/peterkwright Peter Wright

    I really don’t think she’s “sh!itting” all over his work. She’s just pointing out a style that falls into a gray area and making a change. When I read any post I assume anything not in quotations is written by the author of that post, including attributed paraphrases. 

    Jim’s style was misleading. It’s not “some great journalistic crime.” It would have been better to address it privately without a public blog post, but saying a writer should indicate when the diction he uses isn’t his own is absolutely justifiable and should be expected in any format.

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of a cops reporter I knew in South Carolina who would write sentences such as:
    Police said the man had a “gun.”
    I never knew if he was overly diligent about attribution or if he meant it as a jibe at some past editor with too much time on his hands. Either way, it made hyperattribution look silly.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    I’m not sure that resigning because of being asked to paraphrase lengthy phrases from another source is a step that should draw honor.

    Also, I don’t think that this is such a great statement:

    “This style represents Jim’s deliberate choice to be transparent about the information’s origins while using the source’s own words to represent his or her work. If only for quotation marks, it would be exactly right.”

    So just putting quotes around a couple dozen words of someone else’s writing, almost always without naming the writer, is the solution? As someone else said, that’d be a great gig.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Wrong. It makes a lot of difference.

  • https://twitter.com/misterjayem MrJM

    “Journalists all over the country for years have understood that Jim’s blog is a synopsis of other people’s stories. We all grasp this!  What an absurd manufactured controversy.  Frankly, Poynter looks like its just dumping on a guy who’s about to start a competing product.”

    That’s it folks… We have a winner!
    – MrJM

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    It looks to me like the standard Twitter silliness. It’s stupid to want writers to submit work through an editor or to ask them not to use lengthy passages from other sources verbatim? If so, I’d love to hear the explanation.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    Actually, that was mine. I thought it was quite pithy and succinct.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    No, you’re not. But for too long in journalism, people have known they can resist these types of guidelines and get away with it for quite a while.

    Hang in there — you will see quite a few more posts about how this is not really plagiarism or the “what about this” example you cited before. That I can guarantee.

  • Anonymous

    No, I’m saying you don’t sh!t all over your most visible asset, the guy who is the reason so many people come to Poynter on the edge of his retirement without good cause. This does not amount to good cause. The essence of Romenesko, for years, was a pithily worded summary of your article and a direct link. The entire format of the blog was a showcase for other people’s work, so there was never an issue of passing off someone else’s labor as his own. There was never a curtain to pull back. The idea that he committed some great journalistic crime by not indicating direct quotation in every word used and now must be edited to ensure “transparency” while at the same time Poynter aggregates more and more detail from other people’s work is a perversion of ethics.

  • Anonymous

    No, I’m saying you don’t sh!t all over your most visible asset, the guy who is the reason so many people come to Poynter on the edge of his retirement without good cause. This does not amount to good cause. The essence of Romenesko, for years, was a pithily worded summary of your article and a direct link. The entire format of the blog was a showcase for other people’s work, so there was never an issue of passing off someone else’s labor as his own. There was never a curtain to pull back. The idea that he committed some great journalistic crime by not indicating direct quotation in every word used and now must be edited to ensure “transparency” while at the same time Poynter aggregates more and more detail from other people’s work is a perversion of ethics.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Not to come across as a Poynter apologist, but tweets like this one:

    “Stupid lady being stupid. http://t.co/SBgCFDZu

    are worthless. Poynter should think about filtering these if this is what we’re treated to when we dare to venture into that section.

    Grow a spine and start deleting them.

  • Anonymous

    Julie suggests she’s baffled that nobody has complained about the misdeeds she just uncovered.  “To our knowledge no writer or publication has ever told us their words were being co-opted. That raises some questions of its own. Surely many writers whose words appeared in Jim’s posts have read them there.” 
    Perplexing, huh?  Maybe that’s because journalists all over the country for years have understood that Jim’s blog is a synopsis of other people’s stories. We all grasp this!  What an absurd manufactured controversy.

     Frankly, Poynter looks like its just dumping on a guy who’s about to start a competing product.  

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Statements like this show why improvement on a large scale is hard to come by. Someone told me once that people in the United States will always assume wealthy people are right, not because they are right or wealthy, but because everyone wants to become wealthy. I assume people here will give Romenesko a pass for similar reasons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    Yeah, but nobody’s going to pay any attention to it. 

  • http://twitter.com/peterkwright Peter Wright

    So a third party’s misinterpretation of a post is equal to the post itself. It’s not Poynter’s fault that some people like to blow things out of proportion.

  • http://twitter.com/peterkwright Peter Wright

    So you’re saying in the journalism world branding is more important than transparency?

    I don’t see how making a relevant style change is throwing anyone under the bus.

  • Anonymous

    BTW, Jim Romenesko just posted this comment on his Facebook page in response to a question on whether Poynter will be able to call the blog “Romenesko” once his contract has expired : “Bill, the contract says they are to stop using ROMENESKO.”

  • Anonymous

    No, this is throwing your most visible brand under the bus to pre-empt the possibility that CJR might raise a fuss over something utterly spurious.

  • http://twitter.com/peterkwright Peter Wright

    My impression is Julie Moos is making an effort to be as transparent as possible, while apologizing to anyone who may have noticed but didn’t speak up. The post is respectful towards Jim, and specifically mentions he will continue blogging. So why is everyone shouting at Ms. Moos? She’s an editor making an editorial decision that allows Jim to keep blogging. She didn’t personally insult him.

    As to the “this is an aggregation blog” argument: It is very clear in all of Jim’s posts where the information is coming from and how to find more. Still, anytime words are being directly quoted, it’s best to indicate that. Isn’t that just basic journalistic standards? I have read the blog for several years, and I always assumed I was reading paraphrases unless it was in quotes. I wouldn’t consider it plagiarism, but indicating quotes just seems like a better practice. It’s not an insult to Jim. It’s not the demise of Poynter. It’s just a minor change. Save your rage for something significant.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    She obviously doesn’t know what a block quote is. Whatever. Now she’s in charge of a news website. Great.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    People on Twitter missed the point in a rush to post some brief, scurrilous tweet? Say it isn’t so!

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Please. A comparison to the Sandusky scandal? I was wondering when that would happen.

  • http://twitter.com/coneymedia Ed Weintrob

    When my paper first starting posting ahead of print, we tried to exercise advance oversight (editing) of the editor’s posts. This proved impractical, and the second (and third) pair of eyes would have to follow the initial upload. Most newspapers are no longer staffed to do it any other way.

  • http://twitter.com/coneymedia Ed Weintrob

    When my paper first starting posting ahead of print, we tried to exercise advance oversight (editing) of the editor’s posts. This proved impractical, and the second (and third) pair of eyes would have to follow the initial upload. Most newspapers are no longer staffed to do it any other way.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Ah, the “he’s a good guy” defense. No point addressed.

  • Anonymous

    Aggregation is fine, stealing is not. If you can’t come up with 100 original words as a lead-in to a link and instead use someone else’s without credit, it’s stealing. Am I missing something?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Keep in mind whenever you read Hopkins’ posts on this matter: His readers have urged him to seek Romenesko’s job, and I don’t believe he has denied having interest in pursuing it.

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    No, she’s the new boss. And everybody’s so happy about it!

  • http://twitter.com/coneymedia Ed Weintrob

    Yes, for a few seconds I thought it was a parody of some sort. Unfortunately not. Poor way to treat a hard-working quality producer.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Mark, do you read much of the Internet? Not trying to be snarky here, but it’s a fricking badge of honor for people on the Internet to post outright lies anonymously.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    It can be, and it generally is, if wording is used verbatim without quote marks. Didn’t anyone here ever write a paper in college? I was around in the pre-Internet, dinosaur age before the Internet, and we were warned about copying exact wording. Today an instructor can run a piece of writing through an application and detect plagiarism in a matter of minutes. I’d say I’m surprised Poynter didn’t figure out it could do that, too, but then I’d be lying. Sometimes I’m not sure Poynter could organize a two-car parade without difficulty.

  • Anonymous

    Romensko didn’t help expose Jayson Blair. He reported on the story, IIRC. My lord, has the whole journalistic world gone mad?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    The salary has nothing to do with it. Ethics aren’t a suitcase that you just leave at a door and pick up on the way out. Either you use them, or you don’t. The idea that other, lower-paid journalists have been caught and busted makes me shed no tears for them.

    The working harder part is a more legitimate claim. I shed no tears there, either, because people spent too long with their heads in the sand, but that’s a whole other issue.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Ida, you can get some of that information through Poynter’s tax forms, which the organization has to make public. It’s actually very easy to view those.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Sorry, Rod, but one only needs to take a high school English class to know the definition of plagiarism includes more than what you believe.

    Is Poynter stretching it to the breaking point? Perhaps. But I respect CJR way more than Poynter, Romenesko, or the peanut gallery here.

  • Anonymous

    Julie Moos surely doesn’t want to go down in history as the person who forced Romenesko to resign in shame?

  • Anonymous

    Oh good lord. This has got to be parody. Is “Julie Moos” some wacky intern having fun on her last day?

  • Anonymous

    Google Reader doesn’t use quotes when it shows me an RSS feed. This is a similar situation, in my mind. This site links to outside stories. There is no original reporting here. It’s aggregation. 

    What a sad way to treat someone in his final couple of weeks on the job. Horrible.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Scary, Dan. You and I agree on something.

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Interesting. I was just thinking of the anti-Gannett bloggers Jim Hopkins and Ruth Holladay when I was reading this post. At Hopkins’ admission, Romenesko has used unverified information from Hopkins’ blog numerous times. Who knows what the “source” of these tidbits was? Yet Romenesko and then Poynter ran with them as if they were gospel. The revelation in itself that these unverified nuggets were then not edited is damning proof that Poynter itself really has no idea what real journalism is.

    (Of course, we knew that already with the numerous defenses of publishers including Rupert Murdoch, while run-of-the-mill journalists were blasted for the egregious sins of eating a free hot dog at a game. We also knew it from the numerous testimonials to the failed and failing design-based approach. These false claims have now been repeated so often that I tend to think they would be actionable as a complaint within the right framework.)

    Hopkins has been guilty numerous times of using inaccurate, unverified information, and who knows how often Romenesko has purloined these details. The latest and greatest example is Hopkins’ claim that Craig Dubow will receive $37 million upon leaving the company. As Hopkins and others should know, that is merely the figure reported by the company, as required by government regulations. The chances Dubow will ever see $37 million are not high. Of course, this is generally mentioned rarely and briefly by the blatantly biased, factually challenged anti-Gannett bloggers.

    In summary, Poynter should have accepted the resignation and pledged to improve, although those pledges can barely be trusted at this point. 

  • Jim Hopkins

    This just in: Jim says on his Facebook page that he offered Julie Moos his resignation again, this afternoon: “She asked me to sleep on it and make the final decision in the morning. I doubt that I’ll change my mind.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    Bullshit. It’s clearly attributed with the link – and more than meets the accepted academic practices in regards to attribution.

    This is nothing but a frakin’ STYLE question.

  • Anonymous

    …..and your point is??????

  • Anonymous

    Is this a parody?

  • Anonymous

    Still more evidence that Poynter has little understanding of Romenesko’s appeal and purpose. Even before this development, I had the sense that they were improving the site into oblivion…

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    Agree. He was the “when you got a free minute, go to this guy’s site” for years in newsrooms long before he affiliated with Poynter.

  • SAM SMITH

    Rotten treatment of a fine journalist. I can hardly wait to read Jim’s new blog.

    Sam Smith
    The Progressive Review

  • http://twitter.com/askheidi Heidi DeVries

    Read some of the Twitter reactions right below your post. Clearly, some people think Romensko was “busted.” It’s an atrocious way to treat someone who never tried to fool anyone. His blog was an aggregation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GE5FTROHJWC2JF47ZDJ6WXTIYA John

    So, Erika Fry is now the leading global expert on attribution in an aggregated blog format? Oh please, you do Jim and Poynter a huge disservice by cowtowing to the quibbles of an assistant editor on CJR who has nothing better to do.

    Anyone who reads what Jim does knows that he attributes as a matter of course and gives due credit where credit is due. This is much ado about nothing, I’m afraid. And I agree wholeheartedly with Jim Hopkins — Poynter.org would have a helluva lot fewer eyeballs were it not for Mr. Jim and the job he does and has been doing for more than a decade.

    It is a gross overreaction on Poynter’s part to make it seem like Jim has been doing something wrong. You sully his good name and trample common sense when you do so all because some assistant editor somewhere needs to play “gotcha.”

    No wonder regular people hate the media.

  • Anonymous

    No, they publicly flogged him. This is why personnel issues are best handled in-house unless there is a smoking gun of stealing. There was not!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    And by the way, this is just one more example of many, many examples of Poynter’s staffers revealing their own breathtaking inadequacies. Other than Jim, they’re just not very good at what they do, and they know it. In fact, they’re very, very bad at what they do. They’re incompetent.

    Years ago, I wrote to them a few times asking why their Web site essentially didn’t work, in all kinds of different ways. You couldn’t search it. You couldn’t log in. It was unnavigable. To find anything, you had to manually go back through pages. If it was too far in the past, too bad. I was told, several times over a period of years, that it was being “worked on.” Julie Moos was among the people who told me this. Many of the problems could have been solved in a couple hours of work, at most, and yet they lingered for years. Years later, they finally redesigned the site so now it’s merely subpar rather than atrocious. Nice work. 

    And of course, we’ve seen what’s happened after the not-Romenesko Romenesko bloggers started contributing. Unrelenting awfulness, wall to wall. One blogger pretending to examine the journalistic aspects of the Casey Anthony case when that blogger was — quite obviously — simply interested in the Casey Anthony trial. People writing about things like “crowdsourcing” and “citizen journalism” for no other reason than to use those words, since the writers clearly had no idea what they were talking about. People writing what they apparently believed were “investigative” pieces where they didn’t even try to contact the people involved. And on and on. All of it just slightly north of literate — and just slightly south of comprehensible. 

    Now, less than two months before the one guy who gets this site any traffic at all is scheduled to leave, capping off a long and estimable career, they decide to – forgive me, but it’s apt — throw him under the bus for something that’s at least as much their fault as it is his. I have no choice to assume that this public display of heartlessness and cluelessness is based on resentment combined with the kind of self-doubt that can manifest itself this horribly only when it’s deeply buried in the subconscious. There was simply no good reason for this post to have been written. The only possible motives are terrible ones. 

    This marks the end of Poynter.org as any kind of influential force in journalism. And rightfully so.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    ?? Since when do anonymous commenters get to be serially self-righteous about matters they clearly have a limited understanding of?

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    ?? Since when do anonymous commenters get to be serially self-righteous about matters they clearly have a limited understanding of?

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    ?? Since when do anonymous commenters get to be serially self-righteous about matters they clearly have a limited understanding of?

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    As someone who started blogging in 1999, what I remember is that Jim Romenesko was already there and had, in fact, been there quite a while. If you don’t appreciate the seminal role he played in the development of aggregation standards and styles for all bloggers, you really weren’t paying attention.

    If there was a Mt. Rushmore for bloggers, Jim Romenesko would be on it.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    As someone who started blogging in 1999, what I remember is that Jim Romenesko was already there and had, in fact, been there quite a while. If you don’t appreciate the seminal role he played in the development of aggregation standards and styles for all bloggers, you really weren’t paying attention.

    If there was a Mt. Rushmore for bloggers, Jim Romenesko would be on it.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    As someone who started blogging in 1999, what I remember is that Jim Romenesko was already there and had, in fact, been there quite a while. If you don’t appreciate the seminal role he played in the development of aggregation standards and styles for all bloggers, you really weren’t paying attention.

    If there was a Mt. Rushmore for bloggers, Jim Romenesko would be on it.

  • http://www.jimspice.com jimspice

    Responding to myself here, but it seems there has recently been a significant amount of work on the NewsArticle itemtype over at schema.org (http://blog.schema.org/2011/09/extended-schemaorg-news-support.html) based on the rNews standard created by the International Press Telecommunications Council. It would be a fairly simple process to extend that to quotations pointing to said articles.

  • http://www.jimspice.com jimspice

    Responding to myself here, but it seems there has recently been a significant amount of work on the NewsArticle itemtype over at schema.org (http://blog.schema.org/2011/09/extended-schemaorg-news-support.html) based on the rNews standard created by the International Press Telecommunications Council. It would be a fairly simple process to extend that to quotations pointing to said articles.

  • http://www.jimspice.com jimspice

    Responding to myself here, but it seems there has recently been a significant amount of work on the NewsArticle itemtype over at schema.org (http://blog.schema.org/2011/09/extended-schemaorg-news-support.html) based on the rNews standard created by the International Press Telecommunications Council. It would be a fairly simple process to extend that to quotations pointing to said articles.

  • http://twitter.com/JoyRothke Joy Rothke

    I read Jim pre-Poynter; I’d read him post-Poynter. This is a ridiculous overreaction.

  • http://twitter.com/JoyRothke Joy Rothke

    I read Jim pre-Poynter; I’d read him post-Poynter. This is a ridiculous overreaction.

  • http://twitter.com/JoyRothke Joy Rothke

    I read Jim pre-Poynter; I’d read him post-Poynter. This is a ridiculous overreaction.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkGisleson Mark Gisleson

    Quotes, no quotes, it makes no difference if there is a link to a non-firewalled source.

    Romenesko has nothing to apologize for. Not in a world where rightwing pseudo-news sites manufacture stories based on misleading or phony quotes (when they’re not just making stuff up entirely).

    I think Poynter should give us 100,000 words on the evils of “journalism” as practiced by Messrs. Drudge, O’Keefe and Breitbart before they annoy us with more about Jim Romenesko’s alleged minor failings.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t even begin to tell you how hysterical and wrong all these assertions of immoral, plagiaristic practices seem to me. It’s an aggregation blog. Every original story mentioned is linked, clearly and directly. Anyone who needs to have their hands held through every word of Jim’s thumbnail descriptions of what makes the stories important may possibly need to paddle back to the shallow end of the pool. And if this tempest-in-a-chamber-pot non-scandal pushes Jim to bailing on the blog, then your main success, haters, is in dumbing everything down to your level.

  • Anonymous

    That’s true. Journalists reading this blog for 10 years do not lie.

    Plus, it’s the new style of Rom+ to go longer in its posts, which is totally crappy to me. Rom before was breviticious — so it was impossible to see the problem of going on for 3 or 4 long grafs about what the Tribune said.

    That is all lost now. I expect Rom+ will add the crappy quote-within-a-quote graf formatting we get in crappy blogs. It is more transparent, I guess. It also looks bad and Jim’s style does not call for it anyway.

  • Vin Crosbie

    I’ve lately had trouble using proper Poynter-style attribution when pointing in Twitter to stories. Extreme example? Perhaps, but it’s true that the shorter the squibs, the less room for traditional styles of attributions.

    Why doesn’t Poynter simply use the technique it does above? Namely, boldface original material. Put an short, explanatory line at the start of each Romenesko page, noting that ‘content boldfaced is from the source material hyperlinked.’ That will largely eliminate the problem and save Jim thousands of words of attributive citations during the course of a year (or until his announced semi-retirement).

  • Anonymous

    “Jim has offered to resign and I refused to accept his resignation.”

    O brother. What needless drama Poynter has caused. Let’s see some examples of these broken laws. BTW, are Jayson Blair and some of the other people Rom has helped expose now working at Columbia?

    Smells like ax-grinding to me.

  • Anonymous

    Julie

    Your post is flawed on many levels.

    “One danger of this practice is that the words may appear to belong to Jim when they in fact belong to another.”

    In the 10 years or so that I’ve been reading Romenesko, I’ve never confused Jim’s words with the words of another writer. Because one nit-picker at CJR with nothing better to do brought it up, you automatically assume that the tens of thousands of Romenesko readers are confused. Wrong.
    ………….

    “Some of you may find it abhorrent and a journalistic sin.” So why is it that no one has complained of this “sin” before now?
    …………..

    “To our knowledge no writer or publication has ever told us their
    words were being co-opted.” After informing us that someone at CJR raised the issue, that one line should have been your entire response. Period.
    ……………

    “Surely many writers whose words appeared in Jim’s posts have read them
    there.
    In fact, often those writers or their editors are the ones who send
    us links in hopes we will feature their stories. They are not seeking,
    nor do they deserve, to have their words used without proper credit.”

    Forgive me but this is total BS. Jim provides a valuable service. As a reader, I’m grateful that Jim gathers media news I don’t have time to look for myself and posts it in one place. And as a blogger with a limited readership, I’m grateful that from time to time Jim has deemed an occasional post of mine newsworthy enough to post here with a link to my blog.

    That’s all the credit I need.
    …………….

    “Effective immediately, Jim’s work for Poynter …. will be edited before it is published.”

    This blog bears Jim’s name. He built it into the brand that is recognized and respected by tens of thousands of readers To ask him to submit his posts to an editing process is insulting and an over-reaction.

    You’ve stopped short of calling Jim a plagiarist, which he is not. You should be ashamed.

    I look forward to the launch of Jim’s website after the first of the year.

    Bill Cooke
    Miami
    http://randompixels.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    On top of all the defenses of Jim’s style, I have never, ever felt misled by Rom.

    Jim cites — prominently!!! – the sources in his headline and subhed — if that’s what you call them. He then issues new citations in his graf. Plus, he is an aggregator. I never feel Jim is speaking in his own voice. That is absurd.

    How much attribution is enough? In my opinion, Jim provides plenty. Plus, again, Jim never seems to speak in his own voice. (Although he does when he mentions he is awaiting comment.)

    The pointy heads in the Columbia Ivy Tower are shooting spitballs.

  • Anonymous

    Can you fire everyone who has “aggregated” an article at the Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and so on, while you are at it…

  • Anonymous

    Some of us have been reading Jim from the get go – and for most of those years he was up at 5.30 and posting all day. He built the top media discussion brand. Poynter bought it and paid fairly for it.

  • Mark Potts

    This is, let me find the right word…horseshit. I’ve been a daily, nay hourly, reader of Jim Romenesko since just about the moment his inidispensible blog launched, and I’ve been privileged to have been cited and quoted in it from time to time. Never have I once detected any whiff that he was lifting material without credit—because he wasn’t. 

    As somebody pointed out, the Poynter site probably wouldn’t even exist without the enormous traffic Jim’s excellent work brings to it. To impale him on this ridiculous charge, and besmirch his reputation, as he’s winding up his tenure, is despicable. Poynter’s leadership should be ashamed of itself.

  • Anonymous

    Consider me another voice in the you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me chorus. As someone who has followed this blog, clicked a lot of these links and been linked to (and summarized in various fashions) over the years, it has always been extremely clear to me that JR’s blog is an aggregation of other stories, all being promoted and recommended by JR. No quotes necessary, because all the right links were there, and clearly marked. I love Poynter for caring about fairness and attribution, but in this case they’re worrying too much. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s plagiarism. He should be fired. It really is, or should be, that simple. The reason that it is not that simple is because plagiarism has been tolerated for entirely too long in the journalism industry, with word thieves being given second chances more times than anyone can count. It’s a long trail of “well, what about this” and “what about that.” Hogwash. There should be no extenuating circumstances when it comes to plagiarism. That so many here are saying it doesn’t count because it’s in a blog is stomach turning, but not surprising.

  • Anonymous

    Gosh, the more I read the more outraged I am at Romenesko being accused of plagiarism when the entire format change involves ripping off  – sorry, paraphrasing – vastly more of other people’s work than when Jim was in complete charge of his own blog.

  • Anonymous

    And not enough commenters are making the following message as clear as I will: Poynter, you are killing a pretty golden goose. Your shabby treatment of Romenesko aside, this Moos woman is screwing up your site. She’s said several notably stupid thinfgs, run overly long items that I can’t finish, and now done something supremely stupid that reflects badly on Poynter. If she is here Jan. 1, Im not.

  • Anonymous

    I realize that jealousy of reporters who make more money is the modus vivendi of the profession, but I find the carping about Jim’s salary ridiculous. Shall we start asking who are all those people who draw a paycheck at the Poynter Institute and what they do, and how much they make? Romenesko seems to be the only one doing a full day’s work, a day that for much of the past 12 years began in the middle of the night.

    Until now, the decline of the blog as Ms. Moos and others have gotten involved has felt like another aspect of middle aged entropy — less hair, a sagging butt, something to stoically accept. The hints seem to be that some youngsters are coming in, they want to do things differently, maybe they disrespect the guy who built the place, but it is really time for him to move on.

    Sound familiar? Perhaps Poynter is engaging is some kind of allegorical passion play of the profession it purports to study. This latest episode seems to be especially strong evidence of this. “Let’s create a fake controversy about the clash of new and old journalism values, with the ironic twist that the old guy who was one of the first widely read bloggers represents “new” journalism and the youngster represents the “old.” (Julie, please note that I put this imagined thought bubble in quotes)

    I can even imagine Jim saying “Sure, it might goose the page views. Why don’t I offer to resign?”

     

  • http://twitter.com/RobinJP Robin J Phillips

     “…  that Jim Romenesko’s posts exhibit a pattern of incomplete attribution.”  Very politely put, but a pattern of incomplete attribution is just wrong. And it’s lazy journalism. That so many here feel the need to defend it so vehemently is a little bit sad.  
    Growth and transparency are good things.  Good job, Erika and Julie. 

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, Poynter? THIS is the issue that you get outraged about? THIS is the issue that leads you to plant your flag on morals, ethics and proper journalistic behavior? 

    Not your softball performances as ESPN “ombudsman”; not the fact that the St. Petersburg Times is dropping who knows how much money on a name change while still cutting back on, ya know, journalists (As a matter of fact, you were so non-outraged about that one that you interviewed the chairman of the Poyner Institute in a story that seemed to be striving to answer the burning question of “why is changing the name of the St. Petersburg Times the greatest idea ever?”); but Romenesko and quotation marks. That’s what we get 1,300 words of journalistic fire and brimstone on. I can’t wait for the inevitable Storify.

  • http://money.cnn.com/technology Stacy Cowley

    Also, don’t forget that Poynter’s own style change made this issue worse. The hed on Romanesko items used to link directly to the original item, instead of to the Poynter blog post permalink. It’s a style I strongly preferred — I usually click the wrong place now trying to get to the original source — and it also made it blindingly, glaringly obvious where the material came from. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    The more I think about this, the more I think Poynter, and Julie Moos in particular, has behaved abominably. It’s true that pasting in others’ words should never be done without quote marks and attribution. But if that’s really how it’s been done all along, this should have been handled in-house. The public posting about sausage making is self-aggrandizement, with “transparency” being used — transparently — as cover. She’s as much to blame as Jim, if not moreso. Given that nobody had complained about this until now, why call attention to it? Tell Jim to use quotes for all such material from now on, and problem solved. Now it’s a big, public to-do and for no good reason. She’s impugned the guy’s reputation for something that he’s been doing, under her watch, for years. Just awful, really. 

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    If I were he, I would have “offered to resign” rather than listening to them bitch. Perhaps it was that?

  • Warner Fabian

    Well I for one never expected to see the words of anyone else appear on an aggregation blog. I am shocked and hurt by the deception.

    In the future, please put giant flashing sirens a la Drudge Report around each and every word cribbed from the aggregated story. The wall-to-wall links and attributions in every post are easy to miss and therefore likely to trigger my misplaced outrage.

    I’m sure Erika Fry and officious assistant editors everywhere would wholeheartedly agree.

  • http://money.cnn.com/technology Stacy Cowley

    Echoing this. Aggregation is crappy when the goal is to SEO up some eyeballs and recycle original reporting into your own site. Aggregation is great when it functions as genuine curation; the whole mission of the Romanesko blog has always been to give people a quick news update and redirect readers off into the original source material for a deeper read. Jim’s items get read as he clearly intended them: snippets from and redirects to other reporting. 

    Here’s an obvious gut-check: This site is read daily by thousands of journalists and very frequently spotlights heated brawls over plagiarism/aggregation/gray lines.  We’ve about the most informed audience imaginable on this topic, and the quickest to yelp when we feel our words are being ripped off. Has any journalist, or their editor, ever complained about personally feeling “over-aggregated” by Romanesko? *insert cricket chips here*

    Total overreaction. 

  • http://twitter.com/commiegirl1 Rebecca Schoenkopf

    This is absolute nonsense. “The paper says” isn’t a clear enough attribution that what follows is what the paper says? Lady, get over yourself.

  • Gwyneth Doland

    Excellent work, Julie. I appreciate the
    commitment to standards and the transparency. This provides a great lesson for
    my journalism students.

  • Gwyneth Doland

    Excellent work, Julie. I appreciate the
    commitment to standards and the transparency. This provides a great lesson for
    my journalism students.

  • http://www.jimspice.com jimspice

    I’m sure this will not be the last instance of firming up practices as journalism moves from pulp to pixel. Perhaps Poynter could lead the way in adopting  recognized standards in quotations and links as recommended by the powers that be for the online world. Internal markup with structures schema make identification of articles, authors and sources unquestionable, and have the added benefit of tightly connecting related information on the web. Take a look at http://schema.org to see how Google, Bing and Yahoo are involved in creating a new “stylebook” for the digital age.

  • Thomas Hanrahan

    For the better part of the last eight or so years, I have made Jim Romenesko part of my day. He is as important to me as a morning coffee and an early evening beer. He is part of my routine. I took it as a given that he was using other people’s words. Aggregation is part of the new journo landscape. I will be more careful in my blogs, and maybe that is a positive. But Jim didn’t commit a sin, in my view. The blog/journo relationship is still evolving. Shit happens.

  • http://twitter.com/DawnFlare Lynn Connor

    Not a good day for elder journalists. Not for elder college football coaches either. They’re out to get you, so watch it and keep current, keep vigilant. No one is giving out passes.

  • Anonymous

    You know, I’ve seen a lot of nonsensical faux-ethical handwringing from Poynterite bureaucrats in my time, but this one takes the cake. No one ever complained about the “problem” that’s been invented here, and that’s because it really isn’t a problem. Every sentient journalist knows the words in a Romenesko post linking to a particular article come from that very article (emphasis on the word sentient). 

    Besides Romenesko, the Poynter site consists largely of drivel, inside baseball badly played. If I were Jim, I’d take my blog private. There are plenty of Silicon Valley folks who’d be happy to back it. BTW, I agree totally with the following sentiment from contenunu:On a good day this would be total bullshit. Jim Romenesko does not need to be pre-edited over quotation marks.I have been in the business more than 30 years, many as the head editor of significant publications, and consider myself an absolute stickler for accuracy and attribution. And I don’t feel the slightest damn need to put the sentence of contenunu’s I quoted above in quotation marks.

  • http://twitter.com/coneymedia Ed Weintrob

    With due respect, Julie, you are overreacting.

    Whether or not Jim’s system skirted some of Poynter’s 2004 rules, the fact is that methods of attribution have changed (whether some of us “old timers” like it or not). Try attributing every word, every time, on Twitter! It’s not possible.

    What counts in aggregation is (1) that you link to the source and (2) that you make it clear you are reporting what the source said, whether or not every direct quote falls within quotation marks. Intent does matter. It’s been clear to Jim’s readers that he is reporting what others have reported, not originating the newsbreaks himself. (Reporting on newsbreaks from other Poynter streams may require less stringency.)

    That’s the reality of online journalism, especially aggregation.

  • Anonymous

    Only in the groves of academe could such a sad little issue take root.
    Outside in the real world, actual journalists know the difference
    between what Romenesko does (nothing improper) and plagiarism. Let’s get
    serious.

  • Anonymous

    Paying smart people a decent wage is not insane.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanHoleywell Ryan Holeywell

    That’s insane money. Absolutely insane. I had no idea. It’s crazy to think that someone can get so rich contributing absolutely nothing original (at least to this blog) and simply linking to much lesser-paid journalists’ work. It’s almost as if he’s earning the aggregation of their salaries by aggregating their work. Not a knock against Jim — it’s a good gig if you can get it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    The second sentence is true. If Poynter asks him to use quotation marks in all instances where others’ words appear, he will do so, case closed. The idea that Poynter editors, who have frankly shown themselves to be rank amateurs, will be pre-editing his work where they weren’t before, just because of this, is patronizing and offensive. (I think everyone should be edited, but that’s a different question.)

  • Anonymous

    I think the change in policy is good, but this has always been on the border between blog and official page. I’ve never felt like he was trying to fool me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    We are not looking at the same thing. What I see is clearly plagiarism. If you look at the example cited—and I mean go click on Jim’s actual post—he begins it with what I thought were his own words, his own introduction to what he is about to link to for his column. In this column, he start off with a link to the Chicago Tribune at the top. But then he writes, “The Tribune says Mayor Rahm Emanuel refused its requests for his emails,
    government cellphone bills and his interoffice communications with top
    aides, arguing it would be too much work…”

    Now, the beginning is not identical but the rest is. Then there are portions that aren’t identical and then it’s identical again. He’s cutting and pasting from the article to insert into a few words he writes for the intro.

    This is not how it is done in journalism.

    To say this is not plagiarism is just flat-out wrong. That is plagiarism. If he is hacking the entire content, then put it in quotes or in a quotebox, but don’t just cut and paste under your own damn byline before there’s any quotation mark or box. That’s lazy and ironically often a criticism of the industry that Jim aggregates.

    But it’s not the horrible kind of plagiarism that would require a resignation or firing. Jims been doing this for 12 years and he wants to semi-retire so he can do something different, and he became lazy over time with how he was writing his column. This happens to everyone, a little bit of the burnout blues.

  • http://www.sevendaysvt.com/ Tyler Machado

    I don’t think Poynter’s accusing Romenesko of being a plagiarist. It was a small misunderstanding that they cleared up. It’s not like they fired him. Kudos for erring on the side of transparency.

  • Trey Barrineau

    I’m saying he’s got an incredibly cushy job and apparently he can’t even meet the minimal standards of his employer. Meanwhile, thousands of actual journalists who’ve had to play by the rules and face heavy editorial scrutiny every day have been dropped down the memory hole over the past decade, or are working harder than they’ve ever worked in their life just to hang on to a job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    You’re right about the pullquote. I’m not sure why that was included. However, there are other examples that meet the definition of plagiarism. There is no precise way to determine what is “boilerplate” and what isn’t, which is why any time you use the exact words of someone else, we need to identify them as such. The rule is elementary, and it applies to Jim as much as it does to the rest of us. 

  • Anonymous

    This post put me to sleep. All I want from this blog are more tales of embarrassing journalist screw-ups. I could not possibly care less about Tina Brown’s latest effort, Geneva Overholser’s prognastications or any analysis of the New York magazine world. Please deliver more posts about editors, publishers and reporters caught in the act of behaving like unprofessional whining crybabies and your readership will be forever grateful.

  • Anonymous

    I’m disappointed at Poynter, a generally outstanding organization, for this unjust broadside. Plagarism, I believe, involves appropriating someone else’s work and passing it off as one’s own. Jim does not do this. (For that matter, neither does a copy editor when taking the lead of an inside story and using for a refer on page one.)  If Poynter believes that there might be readers who don’t understand the presentation then it is editing that is called for, not an unfair public rebuke. Full disclosure: My only contact with Jim has been an e-mail exchange or two over the years. – George Edmonson

  • Anonymous

    Huh?  Why shouldn’t he?  He does work that many of us find valuable.  I’m glad he can earn a comfortable living doing it.  $170k/year hardly makes him part of “The 1%,” to use the jargon of the moment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    The long pullquote (the two grafs after “the paper reports”) was set off and it has quotes around it. It’s a pullquote, and it should not be included here — it makes the situation look worse than it actually is. 

    That said, I think any time you use verbatim language from another source, it needs to be identified as having been taken directly from that source. There are several longish passages here that meet the technical definition of plagiarism, though of course I don’t think Jim was trying to fool anyone. This is easily remedied: use quote marks and attribute whenever it’s taken from the source, as you do elsewhere. 

  • http://twitter.com/HoustonFowler Tom Fowler

    I’m glad this discussion/point is being made here because lord knows there are thousands of so-called online news outlets that have no problem blurring these lines. I’m don’t think Romenesko was trying to steal from anyone and I don’t think Ms. Moos is trying to insinuate he is or trying to pass the buck. She’s delving into the weeds because someone in the business needs to think long and hard about it. There are too many who are willing to leave the details of ethical issues to chance.

  • James Poniewozik

    FWIW, as someone who Romenesko has linked various times, I have never given, nor could I imagine giving, a crap about this practice. Even in the supposedly damning example cited above, the bulk of the quoted material appears in quotes. The bolded phrases not in quotes are, to be charitable, boilerplate. Unless there are far more egregious examples out there–which I strain to imagine, since the practice and intent of Romenesko’s blog is self-evident–this is a nothingburger.

  • Trey Barrineau

    Jim Romenesko makes $170,000 to blog from his home. Let’s don’t forget that.

    http://www.portfolio.com/views/columns/media/2008/06/16/Jim-Romeneskos-Impact-on-Journalism/index1.html

  • Anonymous

    So, what, you guys just started reading Jim? He’s been doing this forever and nobody who reads his blog takes it to be anything remotely insidious or exhibiting neglect of standard journalism ethics, let alone anything resembling “incomplete attribution.” Do you not understand how a blog works? Have you never read, I don’t know, the MediaBistro morning mailer, or Mike Allen’s Playbook? Readers have come to expect a certain form and style here that they’re accustomed to – it’s a fashion of aggregation/attribution that’s usually reserved for political/media trades – and Romenesko’s coherent, consistent methodology shouldn’t aggravate or confuse anyone but the most facile and/or tightassed of readers. 

    This is absurd. 

  • Anonymous

    In every case, there was a direct and unmistakable citation: the story being linked. This internal agony — now externalized — is a complete waste of time and insinuating that Jim a “plagiarist” is the real ridiculousness here. I’m disappointed in Poynter.

  • Trey Barrineau

    Jim Romenesko makes $170,000 a year to blog from his home. Let’s don’t forget that.

    http://www.portfolio.com/views/columns/media/2008/06/16/Jim-Romeneskos-Impact-on-Journalism/index1.html

  • http://twitter.com/RyanHoleywell Ryan Holeywell

    I agree Jim has provided a huge service over the years. And I don’t think he tried to pull a fast one on anybody, since the stories were always linked. Having that, I don’t understand the lack of quotation marks. I guess it would never even cross my mind to use someone else’s work without putting it in quotes or offsetting it some how. To me, that would be the equivalent of writing an article in wingdings or Spanish or in all caps. It just wouldn’t be something to be considered. I assumed that’s what everyone else does.
    I guess I want to hear more about why he didn’t feel quotes for necessary before I rush to judgment.

  • Anonymous

    Invented? That’s going a bit far. He’s adopted a style of writing/blogging that’s been done by others. And he’s been getting a bit sloppy with it. Case closed. Move on.

    A centerpiece of our editorial work has been the Romenesko blog,
    which invented a form of aggregation that is widely and deservedly
    respected. It is also imperfect.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    I feel the same way, blackflag. I’ve never really come here to follow Jim’s personal work or opinion. I came here because he aggregated a lot of stories about an industry I have interest in on an almost daily basis. Maybe he shouldn’t be held to the same standard. But if my wife did this at the newspaper….I’m not sure they’d be talking about quotation marks.

  • Jim Hopkins

    What a high-falutin’ note, Julie.

    This says at least as much — if not more — about Poynter’s back reading as it does about Jim’s posts. And I’m writing as someone whose work has been frequently summarized by Jim over the years. 

    I love this part: “A centerpiece of our editorial work has been the Romenesko blog.”

    A “centerpiece?” Exactly how many people would be coming to Poynter without Romenesko’s excellent work over the years? Sheesh.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    I’m not outraged at all. I think the problem here is the sources weren’t always cited. If what you say is always the case, I am not reading this article correctly. I’ll read it over again. But I’m not outraged at all. Why would he offer to resign over placement of quotation marks? That seems ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    I despise plagiarism and believe those who do it for a media outlet should be fired and the common practice to do it by bloggers should lead to public shaming. But what is this about? I have never, ever taken Jim Romenesko’s blog posts to be anything but a redirect to someone else’s work. Quote marks, no quote marks. Who is it that thinks otherwise? He exists to send you to that work. I disliked Poynter’s attempt to expand the posts in recent years (a la Huffington Post) so that people would spend more time-on-site at poynter.org. Who is at fault for that? My understanding of Romenesko’s desire to semi-retire is so he could do his own work instead of aggregating. I’ll follow this string and am open to counter-arguments.

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    It can’t be plagiarism if the sources are always cited, which they are. Can’t you find something else to get outraged over?

  • http://openid.aol.com/contenunu contenunu

    On a good day this would be total bullshit. Jim Romenesko does not need to be pre-edited over quotation marks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    To me, this is plagiarism. When you gain a lot of popularity from promoting and capitalizing on other people’s work, you’re always taking and after years and years of unedited work, I am sure someone got unintentionally lazy over putting his posts together. Jim makes a lot of money. A lot. More than any journalist and editor I know. Is it minor? I don’t know. Is it?

    Is this a really bad thing? I don’t know.

    I’d like to hear more from Jim about what he thinks because he did offer his resignation. Why did you offer to resign, Jim?

    I think it would stink if Jim had to resign. I’ve relied on him for four years to deliver me the current buzz in journalism and the media. But I’ve never relied on him for his own personal writing or his own opinion. He aggregated content about an industry I have interest in, and that is a service I use almost daily. But I really never thought about holding him up to the same standards of a journalist.

  • Anonymous

    This a tempest in the teapot. And you do everything but make a direct accusation of unethical behavior against one of the most respected journalists out there. Sounds a lot more like relatively new or promoted management miffed at not having complete control. If this is indeed unethical or even plagiarism, say so. Otherwise, leave him alone.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    Wait. Why are you fluffing up and trying to put a costume on plagiarism? This really isn’t “aggregation;” it’s flat-out plagiarism. When you take someone else’s words and sentences and insert them into your own article, without quotation marks or without citing the source, it is plagiarism. It didn’t take a “sharp eye” to notice this, but it did take someone to take the time to actually point this out to Poynter. Who knows if this was done purposely or done by laziness, but call it what it is, Poytner or else it just seems like you’re not taking this seriously and that you’re offended that someone could complain about this.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JSUNTE67TUHS36QAOVMR4LC5HA Pink

    Wait. Why are you fluffing up and trying to put a costume on plagiarism? This really isn’t “aggregation;” it’s flat-out plagiarism. When you take someone else’s words and sentences and insert them into your own article, without quotation marks or without citing the source, it is plagiarism. It didn’t take a “sharp eye” to notice this, but it did take someone to take the time to actually point this out to Poynter. Who knows if this was done purposely or done by laziness, but call it what it is, Poytner or else it just seems like you’re not taking this seriously and that you’re offended that someone could complain about this.

  • http://twitter.com/mediainvestors Ted Carroll

    Good transparency Julie. Much appreciated. 

  • http://twitter.com/mediainvestors Ted Carroll

    Good transparency Julie. Much appreciated.