The Memphis Flyer highlights a curious, if not disturbing piece of evidence on the journalistic standards to the New York Times.
About a year ago, Little Rock writer Leslie Peacock wrote a story about the discovery of the ivory—billed woodpecker in Arkansas. The article first ran in the Arkansas Times. A couple weeks later, we edited it slightly for our Memphis readership and popped it into the Flyer.
Peacock is a strong writer and she'd come up with a clever concept, to wit: "Poet Wallace Stevens' '13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird' is about the vagaries of perception. This story is about how we see things too. And so: 13 ways of looking at an ivory—billed woodpecker."
Imagine our surprise when we opened Sunday's New York Times Sunday Magazine article on the Ivory—bill, also broken into 13 segments and also called — you guessed it — "13 Ways of Looking at an Ivory—billed Woodpecker.
It may not exactly be plagiarism, but it's damn close, and our feathers are ruffled. You can read our story here. You can find theirs on your own.
Dick Weltz 5 09 06
Ed Lasky point us to this item from the New York Post:
Four paragraphs about Forbes magazine's search for an investor that appeared in The New York Times yesterday closely resemble passages from a London daily that ran the day before.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote the bylined Times piece, blamed it on a "stupid error" by Times desk editor.
"An editor added the paragraphs into the story not realizing it was part of my notes," he said.
The story about Forbes' search for an investor had originally appeared on AdAge.com on May 3.
On May 7, the Sunday edition of The Independent said, "The magazine was founded in 1917 by B.C. Forbes, who ran it until his death in 1954. His son Bruce was in charge until 1964, when he was succeeded by his son Malcolm."
The identical paragraph ran in yesterday's Times.
A subsequent paragraph about Steve Forbes also appeared to be remarkably similar to the story from the London Independent article.
Sorkin insisted the material from the Independent had been incorporated into his notes, then inadvertently into the story. A Times spokesperson last night said a correction would appear in today's paper:
"The Times writer consulted an online report from the Independent on Sunday which he appended to his computer file for reference. Due to an editor's error, four paragraphs of the Independent's report about the history of Steve Forbes' political ambitions were incorporated into the Times article. The Times regrets the error."