The New York Times is firing back at Phil Bronstein’s (right) claim that the Old Grey Lady “borrowed” an anecdote from the Chronicle. Here’s a statement from the Times’ associate managing editor for standards, Philip B. Corbett:
- The suggestion in Phil Bronstein’s blog post that a New York Times reporter improperly borrowed or plagiarized from a San Francisco Chronicle article in a profile of the Oakland police chief is ridiculous.
- The chief, in discussing his move to Oakland, explained his decision to our reporter in the same way he described it at the public news conference covered by the Chronicle in August.
- This is hardly surprising. As commenters on Mr. Bronstein’s blog have pointed out, other news organizations had also recounted the same anecdote — BEFORE the Chronicle article appeared.
- The fact that the chief has recounted the incident previously certainly does not give one newspaper an exclusive right to these facts.
- The Times takes the issue of plagiarism extremely seriously. Even in a competitive news environment, allegations like these should not be made capriciously. But we’re glad Mr. Bronstein is reading our new local pages carefully, and with evident concern.
(BTW, the only place we could find the Times’ response was on Bronstein’s blog; evidently the Times didn’t post it on its own Web site, nor publish it.)
Bronstein’s reply to the Times’s response: “Times, you have great reporters here, including the writer of the Oakland police chief piece. Do something original for your lead story next time.”