Journalist/blogger Jim Romenesko resigns
from Poynter after questions of "incomplete attribution" in his stories.The Poynter Institute
, which trains journalists and promotes ethical journalism practices, has served as the online home of Jim Romenesko's eponymous blog
on daily news and the media for the past 12 years. Julie Moos, Director of Poynter Online, apparently
getting ahead of a story by an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, revealed
yesterday that several of Romenesko's stories had used passages from attributed sources, but had failed to use quotation marks to denote that the passage was taken verbatim from the original source. Here's Moos:
As a reader, I assume text originated with the writer unless quotation marks or blockquotes indicate otherwise. It is incumbent upon the writing and publishing team to signal the reader as clearly as possible. We did not.
Moos provided an example of this type of "incomplete attribution" in one of Romenesko's stories, which were not edited by Poynter staff before being published online. Romenesko, who was planning to semi-retire early next year anyway, tendered his resignation. Moos eventually accepted it.
Media critics have weighed in
, with most supporting Romenesko, arguing that he never took credit for original reporting and was simply aggregating links. One comment on Moos's post read, "FWIW, as someone who Romenesko has linked various times, I have never given, nor could I imagine giving, a crap about this practice." But, Erik Wemple, writing in his blog
for The Washington Post, noted how complicated the issue was:
Moos has a legitimate technical point to address. Follow the logic trail: Romenesko routinely used quotation marks in his summaries; those quotation marks identified text that came directly from the linked story; other text didn’t carry quotation marks. Shouldn’t that always indicate original writing? Isn’t that a standard that wins nods from everyone in the industry?
As he told the New York Times
in August, Romenesko will be starting a new blog enterprise
early next year with his own original reporting. No word on whether he will change how he incorporates material taken from other sources.