Monday, March 29, 2010

Revisiting the Blair Affair at the Times

In a piece titled Boyd's tragic, turbulent Times, Howard Kurtz re-visits the Jayson Blair Affair, as adjusted through the posthumous book of Gerald Boyd, "My Times in Black and White." Boyd was managing editor at the New York Times during the Blair incident, and has been accused of sheltering Blair during the plagiarism / fabrication business.

Kurtz was an involved player; he writes: The troubled Blair resigned two days after I reported that he had lifted numerous passages from a San Antonio Express-News piece. Boyd took issue with my follow-up story, which noted that the Times had run more than 50 corrections of Blair's reporting in less than four years.

Kurtz characterizes print newsrooms much as the tv show Law & Order characterized tv newsrooms in its "Larry Mente" take-off:
There is no foolproof system to guard against reporters who cheat. The business ultimately runs on trust. But in turf-conscious newsrooms that operate on fear, staffers are wary of sharing doubts and senior editors remain isolated from the rank and file. IPBiz ponders: are not news people sufficiently aware of what has been published that they can spot plagiarism? Can't editors verify sources so that fabrications don't occur?

And recall the NYT's comments about using plagiarism detection software as to Blair: "As one test, for example, he said that plagiarized articles by Jayson Blair were run through one of the detection programs, and it failed to catch all the stolen passages."
IPBiz notes: "who cares" if the software didn't catch ALL the plagiarism?



Post a Comment

<< Home