Editor at The National in Abu Dhabi says taking credit for others’ work ‘an obvious mistake’

Romenesko+ Misc.
On Friday, a Romenesko+ reader pointed out that The National has been running other news outlets’ stories and giving top credit to “The National Staff.” The reader notes that “The National’s Business staff added nothing at all to those pieces … they are totally copied and pasted from those [Reuters and Bloomberg News] wires.” I asked The National’s business editor to comment, and he sent this over the weekend:

Your note, apparently sent Friday when I was off, came to me from The National’s main web site. Unfortunately I was not able to respond before you posted your blog.

At The National we take our standards of journalism very seriously, and indeed, we pride ourselves on the work of more than 200 reporters and editors who produce one of the finest English-language papers in the Middle East.

Like other top newspapers we subscribe to news agencies and as policy, attribute copy to agency reporters as well as agencies. Your blog posting points to a case in which an obvious mistake was made with attribution to the agencies. This has been corrected and we have taken steps to ensure that does not happen again.

Best regards,

Tom Ashby
Business Editor
The National
Abu Dhabi

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://pulse.yahoo.com/_2ZSN5GA3LBQ5BD6SQYN5IL4CFM Pat Mustafa

    We imagine it is much easier to get away with things like this when your editor-in-chief and ME are inexperienced and overly susceptible to flattery, when they, the supposed leaders of the newsroom, are openly ridiculed by everyone from senior editors to cub reporters, and when they, in large part, are the reasons so many experienced journalists have left The National in the past 18 months or so.

     See below for some related material:

    1. From AUC Student, a blog written by Nihal Al-Aqabawy“Journalists make a promise to their readers that they are going to deliver the truth and when they violate that promise it is a crime,” said Hassan Fattah Deputy editor of The National newspaper.Fattah leads a team of journalists who work hard every day to deliver news in the United Arab Emirates.But what happens if one of these reporters [in other words, The National Staff] did not do enough reporting and just copied someone else’s work?“Plagiarism is a crime,” said Fattah. “I will not tolerate it.”

    2. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/11/international/middleeast/11ghraib.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2ZSN5GA3LBQ5BD6SQYN5IL4CFM Pat Mustafa

    And in case National editors change the attributions of the cited pieces on its site, as it did with the first articles in mentioned in this thread, permit us to display the following (original piece first, then the pieces written by The National Staff with a small amount of assistance):

    CafePress Tests Wall Street Appetite for One-of-a-Kind Products
    By Zachary Tracer - Aug 12, 2011
    Jenn Zieser sold her first custom T- shirt on CafePress Inc. for fun in 2006. She now makes about $25,000 a year from the site, more than at her regular job.Zieser, a 41-year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is part of a wave of entrepreneurs selling unique merchandise in online marketplaces. CafePress, Etsy Inc., Zazzle Inc. and Spreadshirt all help users find buyers for one-of-a-kind wares — everything from shirts to magnets to iPad cozies. Now CafePress’s initial public offering, which may come this year, will test whether Wall Street is ready to embrace the concept.Your own designer label
    The National staff
    Sep 5, 2011 Jenn Zieser sold her first custom-made T-shirt on CafePress.com for fun in 2006. The entrepreneur now makes about US$25,000 (Dh91,825) a year from the site, more than at her regular job.Ms Zieser, 41, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is part of a wave of entrepreneurs selling unusual merchandise in online marketplaces.CafePress, Etsy, Zazzle and Spreadshirt help users find buyers for one-of-a-kind wares – from shirts to magnets to iPad covers. Now CafePress’s initial public offering (IPO), which may come this year, will test whether Wall Street is ready to embrace the concept. …*with Bloomberg News

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2ZSN5GA3LBQ5BD6SQYN5IL4CFM Pat Mustafa

    It is good to see Mr. Ashby respond to the original post, but please see the links below, which disprove his above statement (“Like other top newspapers we subscribe to news agencies and as policy, attribute copy to agency reporters as well as agencies.”)  We can assure you that it was indeed standard practice on the Business Desk, because we saw it in action on a daily basis.

    The below are but three recent examples, and if anyone takes the time to look at the Business Desk they will find many others, going back for two years or so. The two instances of misleading attribution he refers to above were not “obvious mistakes,” they were instances of “National Business as usual.”

    Have you no sense of decency, Mr. Ashby, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

    (The first URL in each pair is the agency piece, the second the piece is The National Staff.) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-12/cafepress-tests-wall-street-appetite-for-one-of-a-kind-products.htmlhttp://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/the-life/your-own-designer-label—————————http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-09/killer-rolls-royce-13-million-ferrari-lead-monterey-auctions.htmlhttp://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/the-life/no-the-tiger-doesnt-come-with-the-car___________________http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-07/news-international-to-shut-news-of-the-world.htmlhttp://www.thenational.ae/business/media/news-of-the-world-closure-may-aid-rupert-murdochs-bskyb-bid