The Preposterous Plagiarism Assault on Romenesko

In your ungrateful Thursday media column: we must all come together to defend Jim Romenesko, farewells at the NYDN, an election news vet dies, and Nickelodeon suffers.

  • Outrage is the order of the day, as Jim Romenesko—the original media news blogger, who set the standard for every media news blog after him—has been accused of plagiarism by his own employer, the Poynter Institute. The proper target for your outrage here: not Romenesko, but Poynter itself. They have invented perhaps the most bullshit nonexistent plagiarism case in the annals of online journalism.
    Here is what Romenesko stands charged with: nothing. That is, anyone who reads Romenesko on a regular basis will find themselves saying "Really, that? That's supposed to be controversial?" You see, Romenesko—who scrupulously attributes each and every story to which he links—sometimes quotes material from said stories on his blog, to give readers an idea of what is in the stories, so they can decide if they want to click through. Everyone smart enough to want to read Romenesko in the first place understands this perfectly well! But since he doesn't always spell out the already well-understood fact that he is quoting text from the article by using quote marks, Poynter is now floating the idea that he has somehow plagiarized that material. Which always appears under a big, bold, link to the source material. Hm.
    In a post on Romenesko's own god damn eponymous blog, Julie Moos writes "To our knowledge no writer or publication has ever told us their words were being co-opted." And then she writes, "Effective immediately, Jim's work for Poynter will change in a few important respects. First, it will follow our standards of attribution. Second, it will be edited before it is published. I asked Jim Wednesday night to refrain from publishing while we sorted out this situation, and he has done so. Jim has offered to resign and I refused to accept his resignation."
    Wise, to not accept his resignation for a completely contrived charge! This is also an appropriate time to note that the quality of Romenesko's site has taken a nosedive since he announced his semi-retirement a few months ago. I've read the site daily for years. It used to be comprehensive, fast, and scrupulously fair. It's no longer comprehensive. It's speed comes and goes. And, after this incident, it's not even fair! Bah. Well, there's always Mediagazer. Or, you know, JimRomenesko.com.
  • Hal Bruno, who led ABC's election coverage, has died at the age of 83.
  • Per the recent layoffs at the New York Daily News, there's a going away party tonight for "the News reporters, photographers and librarian who were dismissed on Friday - Frank Lombardi, Bob Kappstatter Kathleen Lucadamo, Jose Martinez, Scott Shifrel, Mike Jaccarino, Peter Edelman, John Roca, Linda Rosier, Jane Ridley, Shawn O'Sullivan, Karen Angel, Michael Bowers, John Cochran, Bill Fisher and Barbara DeGarmo." Cheers to all of you.
  • Why are Nickelodeon's ratings falling all of a sudden? Probably because everyone is busy writing outraged tweets about these Romenesko charges.