Rusty Simmons, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Golden State
Warriors beat reporter, has been suspended without pay after he wrote an article Monday that was nearly a
word-for-word copy of a team press release, Columbia Journalism Review reports.
Simmons cut-and-paste a news release the Warriors issued announcing the team had purchased land for a new arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood from the software company Salesforce.
PR man Sam Singer, who represents the arena’s opponents, saw the duplication and sent emails about it to his contacts. Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez took Singer’s tip and tweeted screen shots of the press release and the Chronicle story.
Chronicle editor Audrey cooper confirmed to CJR that Simmons, a sportswriter at the paper since 2002, has been suspended without pay pending an investigation of his entire body of work at the Chronicle. But Cooper also told CJR that she’d be surprised if the review reveals that copying press releases was a “chronic practice” of Simmons.