Editors’ Note: July 30, 2014
The Inside Art column on July 25, about a planned exhibition of the works of the Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo, started with a description of the artist’s life and eccentricities. That passage improperly used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form. (Editors learned of the problem after publication from a post on FishbowlNY.)
Editors are “not aware of any other problems like this,” said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times. She declined to discuss any disciplinary measures, beyond saying that “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue.”
Earlier today, NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan articulated her own views about possible disciplinary measures. She suggested that severe punishment would be merited only if there were multiple transgressions:
An isolated instance of rewriting Wikipedia is not, in my opinion, a firing offense. Something like that probably warrants a written warning or a short suspension. (By the way, I have no vote on this as public editor, and no involvement in the process.)
The last sentence from spokesperson Murphy in Somaiya’s item may be key. The statement that “editors have dealt with Carol on the issue” suggests that perhaps there was a valid explanation offered by the reporter for how this happened. Or, at least, an explanation that proved the lack of attribution was more accidental than intentional.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
A NYT Lede That Duplicatres Wikipedia