NYT looking into claim one of its reporters swiped from Wikipedia


Carol Vogel's July 24 New York Times story about the artist Piero di Cosimo includes the following description:

He is said to have been terrified of thunderstorms and so pyrophobic that he rarely cooked his food, subsisting mostly on hard-boiled eggs that he prepared 50 at a time while heating glue for his art. He didn’t clean his studio. He didn’t trim the trees in his orchard. Giorgio Vasari, the Renaissance biographer, described Piero as living “more like a beast than a man.”

And here is part of the Wikipedia entry for Piero:

Reportedly, he was frightened of thunderstorms, and so pyrophobic that he rarely cooked his food; he lived largely on hard-boiled eggs, which he prepared 50 at a time while boiling glue for his artworks.[4] He also resisted any cleaning of his studio, or trimming of the fruit trees of his orchard; he lived, wrote Vasari, "more like a beast than a man".

"Vogel’s lede is far too close to Wikipedia for unattributed comfort," Richard Horgan wrote in FishbowlNY Monday night.

The Wiki page was last updated May 8, according to its history.

"We are aware of this situation and looking into it," Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Poynter.

The blogger Tyler Green wrote about what he called "Vogel’s routine failure to acknowledge the work of others" last November, after he contended she failed to credit a New York Observer scoop. A similar event occurred in January of that year, Green wrote.

Last week, BuzzFeed fired viral politics editor Benny Johnson for swiping copy from Wikipedia and other sources. "Plagiarism, much less copying unchecked facts from Wikipedia or other sources, is an act of disrespect to the reader," Smith wrote in an editor's note.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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