The National in Abu Dhabi takes credit for stories by Bloomberg News, Reuters, others

Romenesko+ Misc.
A Romenesko reader points out that The National has been taking other news outlets’ stories and giving top credit to “The National Staff.” At the end of the story, editors add “* with Reuters,” “* with Bloomberg News,” or whatever news outlet was plagiarized. “The National’s Business staff added nothing at all to those pieces … they are totally copied and pasted from those wires,” says an email pointing out The National’s ways. “This is unethical, shady, sloppy and simply ridiculous. But the practice is daily routine in that section.” The National’s Business Desk hasn’t responded to my email requesting comment .

* Bloomberg News’ review of Kevin Mitnick’s book | The National’s version

* Reuters’ story on | The National’s pick-up

The email about The National’s practices is after the jump.

This email was cc’d to Romenesko

From: Pat Mustafa

To: [Rich Jaroslovsky at]
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:04 PM
Subject: Your review on Mitnick book used without attribution

Hello – As a reader of your work, I am troubled by the below.




As many of us who worked there knew and know, The National (based in Abu Dhabi) is a sham publication, in many ways. The people running it are substandard, and the alarming lack of ethics in many sections of the paper is enough to make one laugh.

Here is but recent example: on page 8 of the Business section – Wednesday August 31 – there are two wire stories, one headlined “Following every move” and one headlined “Hacker reveals his code of conduct.” The first one is a Reuters piece, written by Jillian Kitchener; the second one was written by Rich Jaroslovsky. But readers of The National’s Business section on that day would have no way of knowing who wrote the pieces, because the editors of the section (and this has been the case since the current editor took over the section) lied to those readers.

You see, both stories are bylined “The National Staff” … and at the bottom of the pieces the email contact reads “business@thenational”, followed by “with Reuters” for the first piece and “with Bloomberg News” for the latter.

What a farce. The National’s Business staff added nothing at all to those pieces … they are totally copied and pasted from those wires; all of the work was done by the original writers, yet they received no credit from their brethren at the “NY Times of the Middle East.” (And there have been hundreds of other examples of “The National Staff” receiving credit for work The National Staff did not do.)

This is unethical, shady, sloppy and simply ridiculous. But the practice is daily routine in that section.

Sad, pathetic. If anyone of any import read the paper, noticed what was in it, these practices would have stopped a long time ago. As it is, the editor of the National’s Business section will be able to continue his lazy brand of journalism for as long as the paper loses money. Any editor with any integrity would never state that his section/staff wrote something that was written by someone else; indeed, in some minds, this is plagiarism.

Other examples of poor ethical decision abound at the paper, including a routine habit of changing quotes, using family members/partners as sources without informing readers of the relationships, and receiving free products in exchange for reviews without stating that the products were given away.

We have pasted below links to the articles mentioned in this email.

[Link #1]

[Link #2]

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  • Elliott Ramos That’s all I’m sayin’. 

  • Pat Mustafa

    Mr. Romenesko, have you received a response from the National’s Business Desk?

  • Pat Mustafa

    From The National’s online “about us” section; one notices the use of “sought” in the second sentence below:

    The National, the Abu Dhabi Media company’s first English-language publication, has set a new standard of quality English-language journalism in the Middle East.Launched in April 2008, The National sought to establish an institution on par with some of the greatest newspapers in the world, but with the authenticity of a paper made in the UAE.  … Focused on the capital, Abu Dhabi, but anchored in the new social and political reality that is the emerging nation within a fast-changing global context, The National offers fresh, compelling content that’s made in the UAE.

  • Virginia Postrel

    On a similar note, the Hindustan Times stole one of my Bloomberg articles and then attributed it to The Washington Post:

  • Pat Mustafa

    Interesting … but many of us who worked there, and some who still work there, know this has long been standard practice at “The NY Times of the Middle East,” as a recruiting editor referred to it during his many recruiting calls.

    There have been hundreds, literally, of instances of this nature, attributing the stories to The National Staff, when in fact the material was simply copied and pasted from bylined articles. (The “with” tagline construction is hilarious!) The current Business editor, Tom Ashby, has overseen this practice for a few years now, and his team of mainly British editors evidently considered it proper. (On the other hand, perhaps some Business staffer did not find it proper, because Mr. Ashby oversaw a mass exodus of his staff – in a down economy at least 14 reporters and editors left the National’s Business section during a period of 18 months or so, many of them to lower-paying jobs and some of them to no jobs at all.) We write “considered” above because it seems that someone this morning changed the attributions/bylines of the two mentioned pieces on the paper’s website. Evidently, someone there has suddenly discovered that it is not right to steal property belonging to others.However, this takes care of but two pieces that the Business staff took credit for; what about the countless other instances? And, we were unable to locate a correction for either example, nor any explanation/editor’s note. Is anyone at the paper going to take responsibility for this? Perhaps the current editor in chief, Hassan Fattah? We think the paper owes it to its loyal readers.