Shortly after his resignation from Poynter, in the wake of what many critics called a manufactured attribution scandal, Jim Romenesko officially launched his new site Jimromenesko.com over the weekend. His first post detailed the ugly behind-the-scenes dealings that hastened his departure from Poynter. His contention seems to be that a fight over advertisers jumping ship from Poynter to his new site is what really started the spat between himself and Poynter’s online director Julie Moos.
[Poynter's Moos] wanted me to agree to stay away from Poynter’s advertisers. I’m not accepting any advertising restrictions, I said.
The next day she called again — this time about the upcoming CJR story and the questions that CJR’s writer raised about my posts. I told Julie that I’d used the same story summary format for the past 12 years, always credited the source, and sometimes didn’t use quote marks in my story summaries because they weren’t direct quotes. Not once in 12 years did anyone complain that I was plagiarizing or over-aggregating, I said. Julie said she was going to discuss this matter with Poynter president Karen Dunlap in the morning and that I shouldn’t post to Romenesko+ until a decision was reached.
After getting off the phone with Julie, I called a longtime friend from Milwaukee who’d been pushed out of his photo-studio manager job a few years earlier. (Tom, who just turned 57, is still looking for work.)
“I think Poynter’s going to fire me,” I said, “and try to ruin my reputation so none of their advertisers will go with me on the new site.”
“You’d better make it clear to them that if your name is anywhere near the word plagiarism that you’re going to sue their asses!” Tom said.
After our brief conversation, I plopped down on my couch and thought, “God, what a surreal ending to my career!”
Moos, incidentally, aggregated Romenesko’s post on Poynter’s newly named media blog MediaWire, but held back from further comment.