Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron complained to the New York Times about not crediting his paper. Times Public Editor Sullivan e-mailed with the Times’ associate managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett, about the issue. He replied:

One complication is that there’s no clear or simple rule on when and how to credit. When information reported by another news organization is not widely known and we haven’t been able to match it ourselves, we normally attribute it or link to the source. But in cases where we have done our own reporting, it’s less clear-cut. We still want to credit another news organization if they have done major enterprise or have unearthed a big story — something no one would have known about without that initial reporting. But for an ongoing story or beat — where lots of reporters are chasing the same story line and may break different elements at different times — it’s not always practical or useful to tell readers, well, this element was first reported by News Organization A, and this other part was broken by Organization B, and we were the first to report these other pieces, etc.

Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times

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  • CTS

    I was struck by the Times’s standards editor’s saying he hadn’t looked into Baron’s complaints, so he was just offering up general observations about credit. Isn’t it his job to see if specific complaints have merit? And then doubly so when those questions are reinforced by a query from the ombudsman?

  • sargeh

    On the other hand; if the roles were reversed, the NYTimes would be the first one to complain.

  • steve849

    I agree. Don’t be a baby.