MSNBC.com Rips Off New York Times StoryS

In your muckraking Monday media column: MSNBC.com borrows a little too liberally from the NYT, the Washington Post grits its teeth as another competitor launches, Clark Hoyt gets a new job, more advice for Newsweek, and Forbes.com gets Gawkery.

  • Did MSNBC.com plagiarize a New York Times story? Yes, more or less. Compare this August 2 NYT story by Andrew Adam Newman, "Oil Spill Aid Is Small, but Some Companies Step Up," with this August 5 MSNBC.com story, "Huge Gulf spill draws few donations." The NYT's first sentence:

    CORPORATE and individual donations after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have paled in comparison to responses to other disasters.

    MSNBC's first sentence:

    Donations to victims of the worst oil spill in U.S. history pale in comparison to other recent disasters, a development some philanthropy experts attribute to the blame factor.

    NYT:

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that six weeks after the April 20 explosion that caused the disaster, about $4 million had been donated to relief efforts, compared with more than $580 million within eight days of Hurricane Katrina and more than $560 million within 17 days of the earthquake in Haiti.

    MSNBC:

    The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that six weeks after the April 20 Gulf rig blast, about $4 million had been donated to relief efforts, compared with more than $580 million within eight days of Hurricane Katrina and more than $560 million within 17 days of the earthquake in Haiti.

    NYT:

    Now Pepsi is donating $1.3 million through its Pepsi Refresh Project, which uses a Web site, refresheverything.com, to determine grant winners by popular vote. That sum is in addition to $20 million that Pepsi has vowed to give away in 2010 in the cause marketing effort, the term for collaborating with nonprofit organizations to bolster both charities and the reputations of companies.

    MSNBC:

    That's not to say some companies aren't chipping in. Pepsi, for example, is giving $1.3 million through its Pepsi Refresh Project to ideas that "refresh" the Gulf. That's in addition to $20 million that Pepsi has pledged to give away in 2010 in the cause marketing effort, the term for collaborating with nonprofit organizations to bolster both charities and the reputations of companies, the New York Times reported.

    Ha, that last bit of attribution does not cancel out the rest of it, MSNBC. Play fair.

  • TBD.com, the long-awaited Allbritton-owned DC online news site, has finally launched. With Politico challenging the Washington Post's political coverage, and TBD now challenging the paper's metro coverage, the WaPo will have to step its game up to avoid being eaten in tiny bites. Sure is a bad time for a scandal at the cash cow of the WaPo's parent company.

  • Former New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt has joined Bloomberg News as an editor (of some sort?) in DC.

  • David Carr says that Newsweek's new owner Sidney Harman should model his moves on Bruce Wasserstein's successful purchase and makeover of New York magazine over the past decade. So, step one: hire Adam Moss.

  • At the new Forbes.com, not only will every editorial staffer be forced to have a blog, but they'll be paid based on web traffic and "online user engagement stats." Welcome to our world, rest of the media.