Rick Bragg Resigns from New York Times

Thursday, May 29

Chicago Tribune staffers discuss Bragg & Blair-related issues
Chicago Tribune
Don Wycliff says Trib staffers came out of their talks with at least as many questions as answers. "Among them: Can we define plagiarism in any but the most general terms? How far must we go in crediting wire services when we use parts of their copy in stories carrying a Tribune reporter's byline? How do foreign correspondents use stringers and how should we credit them (this apropos of The Times' problem with another of its reporters, Pulitzer Prize-winner Rick Bragg)? Do we adhere as rigorously as we should to our already-existing policies on use of unnamed sources, attribution, datelines, sourcing and so forth?"
> Siegal panel ready to quiz key players in Blair's NYT career (NYDN)
> Carroll's reaction to Blair scandal: "This'll happen again" (SF Chron)
> Scanlan calls Blair flap "essentially a management failure" (USA Today)
> (RealAudio) Kalb, Mitchell, Temple, and Wallace discuss NYT (PBS)
> Philly weekly editor says he got $15/hour stringing for NYT (City Paper)
Posted at 9:06:58 AM

Bragg quits after NYT colleagues blast him in e-mails 
Washington Post
Suspended New York Times reporter Rick Bragg says he's quitting now because "I don't want to cause any more hurt feelings, not my own or anyone else's." (He originally planned to resign in the summer.) Howard Kurtz writes: "Bragg's recent comments to The Washington Post ... fueled a heated debate yesterday about the mechanics of reporting, proper attribution, the limits of drive-by journalism and the granting of credit to unseen subordinates who contribute behind the scenes. And the repercussions are being felt far beyond Manhattan, as news executives around the country examine and in many cases tighten their policies."
> Bragg says he read some of the critical e-mails penned on Wednesday and decided to step down "after a whole day of, I don't want to say animosity, but just thinking that more days like this, even one more day, was too much." (New York Times/reg. req.)
> Bragg's comments to Kurtz had fellow reporters on the NYT national desk "in a state of meltdown" on Wednesday, a Times staffer tells Matthew Rose. (Wall Street Journal)
> "I just don't see the point in waking up another day to tension," Bragg tells Harry Berkowitz. "It occurred to me that this is just silly to go another day with hurt feelings. There is just nothing to be gained by sticking around." (Newsday)
Posted at 7:44:33 AM

Wednesday, May 28

NYT update: Raines says he's accepted Bragg's resignation
Romenesko Memos | Associated Press
New York Times executive editor Howell Raines tells his staff: "Rick Bragg has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it. We know this has been a difficult period. We have full confidence in our staff and will be talking with you more in short order." (Read AP's story on Bragg's resignation.)
Updated at 5:40:14 PM / Posted at 7:53:20 PM

NYT-ers: We're not letting Bragg's remarks go unchecked
Romenesko Letters
New York Times City Hall bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer says Rick Bragg has the constitutional right to tell any reporter that he's being punished for engaging in standard practices of stringer abuse at the New York Times. "But I for one am not going to sit by and let those statements go unchecked," she writes. "I have never, in the time I have been here, heard of a case of another reporter at this paper relying on extensive stringer work for feature stories, major works of enterprise or even daily localized coverage in the manner in which the editor's note on Mr. Bragg's article addressed." PLUS: Times business reporter Alex Berenson has a few words about Bragg, too.
> Seth Mnookin says Tim Egan wrote to NYT colleagues: "The problem is we’ve had a two-tier system that has allowed Bragg to carve out one system for him, (cutting corners, using a huge stringer network, telling people he can’t be edited) and another for everyone else." (Newsweek)
> Investors Business Daily uses fabricator John R. Lott to spank NYT (WP)
Posted at 5:40:14 PM

Bragg: "I guess I'll do some stories" before quitting NYT
Suspended New York Times reporter Rick Bragg says he'll return to work, then stick to his plan to quit this summer to write two books. Meanwhile, NYU prof Jay Rosen tells Harry Berkowitz that at the Times, "nobody had a very good explanation why those who helped Bragg report aren't bylined in the story. It's sort of institutional confusion." He says the traditional acceptance of authority in newspapers is coming under greater question with the Internet, and that "Bragg is probably kind of an arbitrary victim of that." He adds: "For a long time journalists haven't had to explain very much how they do things. The Internet has created the expectation that news organizations can be interacted with, can be questioned."
> Bragg says he wishes he had left NYT two months ago (New Orleans T-P)
> Shafer examines which NYT policies were violated by Bragg (Slate)
> Bragg: "I did what's been done thousands of times by hundreds" (NY Sun)
> Many NYT-ers surprised by Bragg's excessive use of freelancer (NYDN)
> Bragg's two-book deal from Random House said to be worth $1M (NYP)
Posted at 8:01:38 AM

Tuesday, May 27

Suspended NYT reporter Bragg says he'll quit in a few weeks
Washington Post
Rick Bragg, who was suspended last week for taking credit for a story reported by a freelancer, tells Howard Kurtz he'll quit the New York Times in the next few weeks. "Obviously, I'm taking a bullet here," he says of his rap. "Anyone with half a brain can see that. [But] I'm too mad to whine about it. It is not unusual to send someone to conduct an interview you don't have time to conduct. It's what we do. And this insanity -- this bizarre atmosphere we're moving through as if in a dream -- we're being made to feel ashamed for what was routine. . . . Reporters are being bad-mouthed daily. I hate it. It makes me sick."
> "SOME TIMES STAFFERS EXPRESSED SURPRISE at Mr. Bragg's suspension because using material from stringers and assistants without giving credit is common practice at the paper," reports the Wall Street Journal. Its reporters write: "The suspension of Mr. Bragg highlights a seemingly arcane but important question: Who gets public credit for writing news stories." (WSJ)
> Shafer: Bragg gently chastised for firing offense at many papers (Slate)
Posted at 7:13:56 AM

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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