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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Shafer’

LAT’s Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian Are Finalists for Michael Kelly Award for Toyota Scoop

LAT’s Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian were browbeaten by Toyota’s PR machine (also equipped with faulty breaks) while investigating the large number of accidents in certain models. Eventually the story became unstoppable and it was followed by a huge recall. But the life-saving fixes started with the investigative chops of Bensinger and Vartabedian.

Anyway, they are nominated for the the Michael Kelly award. We predict its the first of many. Congrats!

Release in full:



Los Angeles Times, ProPublica and New York Times Writers Lauded for Pursuit of Truth in Journalism

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Zachery Kouwe Resigns From New York Times Over Plagiary Charges


This has not been a good month for looking over your shoulder and copying your classmates work: Just last week, Gerald Posner from The Daily Beast resigned after he was caught by Jack Shafer copying portions of The Miami Herald in his columns.

Now New York Times writer Zachery Kouwe has resigned from his business beat over at the newspaper after it was discovered that his role at Dealbook involved at least six instances of copying of press releases and other news sources word for word.

So what was Kouwe’s excuse for the misdeed? Apparently they keep him so busy at Dealbook that he didn’t have time to realize that he was inadvertently stealing other people’s words.

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Gerald Posner Out at Daily Beast for Plagiarism

Secrets_Of_The_Kingdom_Inside_the_Saudi_US_Connection_Gerald_Posner_unabridged_mp3_compact_disc.jpgIt was Slate’s Jack Shafer‘s story that brought attention to the chief investigative reporter for Daily Beast Gerald Posner‘s lifting from other sources. See the piece here.

Look, if you goof up once and end up with a sentence or a phrase identical to someone else, then you should keep your job and your reputation. But if this is the type of thing you do all the time and there are multiple examples of the exact same lifting over and over again…then you should lose your job and the public should know the truth about your work.

Posner writes on his own website:

This afternoon I received a call from Edward Felsenthal, the excellent managing editor of The Daily Beast. He informed me that as part of the Beast’s internal investigation, they had uncovered more instances in earlier articles of mine in which there the same problems of apparent plagiarism as the ones originally brought to life last Friday by Shafer. I instantly offered my resignation and Edward accepted.

What was clear was that the excellent reputation established by The Daily Beast in the last year should not be tarnished by any controversy swirling around me.

The thing we find…the word…odd? Is that he got caught via the Internet but blames the Internet for his folly too:

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Gerald Posner Plagiarized Miami Herald

Gerald Posner, an investigative journalist and contributor to Tina Brown‘s The Daily Beast (not to mention a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Hardball), has admitted to plagiarizing a juicy celebrity death story straight from the pages of The Miami Herald. Jack Shafer at Slate was the first one to notice the…well…lack of discrepancy. Here’s Posner’s article on Fontainebleau heir Ben Novak and his suspicious death for The Daily Beast on February 4th:

There is little doubt the Novacks had a volatile relationship. In 2002, 11 years into their marriage, Narcy and two others tied Ben Jr. to a chair, threatened to kill him and took money from his safe, according to the police report filed at the time.

“If I can’t have you, no one else will,” she told him, according to a divorce petition Ben Jr. filed and then dropped.

Narcy told police investigators at the time that the entire episode was part of a sex game. And she also showed them porno snapshots of women with artificial limbs having sex, claiming her husband had a fetish for them.

And here is the Herald article, written by Julie Brown only two days before:

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Chief Investigative Reporter for Daily Beast Suspended for Plagiarism

105870_preview-gerald-posner-on-michael-jackson-autopsy-photo.jpgThis got caught in a classic Friday news dump because we missed the first article by Jack Shafer at interviewing chief investigative reporter for Daily Beast Gerald Posner about lifting sentences from the Miami Herald. Read the piece here. In that article it was reported that Posner will continue to write for the Daily Beast.

But then Slate readers caught more instances of copying without attribution from Texas Lawyer, cementing that Slate readers are all nerds. Look at the examples of the plagiarism here.

And today Shafer posted this note from editor Edward Felsenthal:

Asked for a comment about the new findings, the Daily Beast’s Felsenthal e-mailed this statement: “We obviously take what’s happened very seriously. We will be suspending Gerald Posner while we review his articles, to return if we are satisfied that he has taken the necessary steps to avoid this in the future.”

Shafer also got a statement from Posner himself:

I now realize that a method of compiling information that I have used successfully since 1984 on book research, obviously does not work in a failsafe manner at the warp speed of the net.

Read: Jeepers! Foiled by Google AGAIN!

As of this posting his page at The Daily Beast is mum.

Will Tablets Save Print Publishing? Slate’s Shafer Says Not Quite

magazinespic.jpgMagazine and newspaper publishers may have missed the boat when it comes to the Internet, but they are determined to be ahead of the curve when the tablet e-reader — or something similar — comes out. Esquire and GQ have already launched iPhone-downloadable versions of their magazines and Time Inc. and Bonnier Corp. have unveiled demos of their tablet-ready magazine concepts.

But‘s resident media watcher, Jack Shafer, says it might be too soon to hail the tablet as the savior of the publishing industry. Shafer compares the tablet technology to CD-ROM’s of 1992, using Newsweek‘s product, called Newsweek Interactive, as an analogy:

Newsweek President Richard M. Smith told the [New York Times] that his company’s early experience with the CD-ROM product would give it a valuable head-start on the competition.

A head-start to last place, I should add. The CD-ROM and its fellow technologies flopped for a variety of reasons. Too expensive, too cumbersome, too wedded to a propriety platform, and not much fun.”

Are all those publishers seeking to pump out tablet demos before the device is even released on a similar race to the bottom? We are excited to see what these new devices will mean to the industry — because they look pretty darn cool — but they’ll only be the hip new thing until something new comes along. As Shafer concludes:

“That’s not to say that the tablet has no future. It’s just if the past is any guide, the future of the tablet won’t look like the SI or Wired prototypes — any more than Pathfinder turned out to be the future of the Web. I find it more likely that some young people at a startup will figure out the highest uses of the tablet form before SI or even Slate does. As Newsweek‘s president ultimately learned from his CD-ROM debacle, not all head-starts turn out to be valuable.”

The Tablet Hype –Slate

Previously: Bonnier Debuts Plans For Highly Anticipated Tablet Device

Reuters Hosts Panel On “Shaky” Audience-Media Relationships


Last night at the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square, Jack Shafer of moderated a panel for millennium journalism entitled “Audience and the Media: A Shaky Marriage.”

The speakers at the event each came from a mainstream news outlet, with differing ideas on how to keep credibility and objectivity in their field while maintaining their audiences’ interests.

Michael Oreskes, editor of The Associated Press, came out swinging. “We’re in an era of mistrust…[the mainstream media] have done a truly lousy job [explaining] why we mattered,” he said. “We got away with it for a long time until the Internet. Suddenly why we failed to explain who we were really mattered.”

Lisa Shepard, ombudsman of National Public Radio, shared a similar sentiment, “The public does depend on the media, and loves to kick us,” she said, explaining that news organizations have been “horrible at marketing themselves” as credible resources, even as they have become more transparent and willing to admit their mistakes.

“Lets be realistic,” Shepard told the crowd. “When you are putting out a 24-hour news product, you are going to have mistakes every day.”

But does admitting those mistakes and issuing corrections make a publication seem more credible, or less? Read on for more from last night’s panel.

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Stimulus Tracker|Post Lays Off Black Reporter|Hearst Stockpiles $1B|Supreme Court Justice Censors High School Paper|Shafer Calls Murdoch’s Bluff

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WebNewser: and Onvia have teamed up to launch The Stimulus Tracker, which monitors Stimulus-funded projects across the country.

Huffington Post: One day before fired New York Post editor Sandra Guzman filed a suit against the paper, the Post let another minority staffer go, black reporter Austin Fenner.

New York Post: Hearst Corp. may have $1 billion war chest.

New York Times: After speaking at New York City private school Dalton, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, “widely regarded as one of the court’s most vigilant defenders of First Amendment values,” insisted on reviewing a copy of any story written by the school paper before it ran.

Slate: Jack Shafer takes down Rupert Murdoch. “Murdoch is simply jawboning. Three months ago he promised that News Corp. would start charging for its newspapers by June 2010. Now he doubts that the company will hit that mark. In typical Murdochian fashion, he’s sowing confusion and harvesting bewilderment.”

What Do You Think Of Slatest?

slatest.jpgThe New York Times reported last night that — starting this morning — is replacing its “Today’s Papers” aggregator with a new “Slatest” feature that will collect news three times a day.

Slate’s editor David Plotz told Brian Stelter that the “Today’s Papers” format was outdated and the online publication had started discussing a year ago how to change and update it:

“In an editorial meeting, Jack Shafer, the media columnist for Slate, observed that the news cycle had three distinct parts: an overnight shift led by newspapers, a daytime phase when other news media entities react to the overnight news, and an afternoon phase when, as Mr. Plotz put it, ‘the day’s news events break and are digested.’”

Today, Plotz wrote about the history of “Today’s Papers,” which says good-bye today, along with the site’s “In Other Magazine” feature. He also explains why the site decided to make the change. “‘Today’s Papers’ was hilariously backward by contemporary standards,” Plotz said. “The authors originally collected front pages by fax from newspapers that barely had online editions. (Our first ‘Today’s Papers’ didn’t even have links.)”

But despite the long-running column’s success and devotion from readers, “We saw a need for a new kind of aggregator, one that was intelligent, witty, entertaining, fast, comprehensive, and responsive to the new news cycle. So we created it,” Plotz said.

So we wanted to know, if you got your daily news round-up from Slate’s “Today’s Papers” how do you feel about the first reveal of Slatest?

What do you think about Slate’s new aggregator Slatest?(opinion)’s Jack Shafer Thinks There is No Yellow Journalism Anymore…Wants to Bring It Back…Serious, He Wrote That…On the Internet

jackshafer.jpgJack Shafer writes in his column “Bring Back Yellow Journalism” in Slate:

But every now and again, I wish the newspapers landing on my doorstep contained a little more blood, took a position without being partisan, yelled a tad more, and brushed some yellow from the palette while painting their stories.

There. I’ve said it. I wish our better newspapers availed themselves of some of the techniques of yellow journalism and a little less of the solemnity we associate with the Committee of Concerned Journalists. Yes, the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World from the 1890s.

Now before you storm the U.S. Congress’ Periodical Press Galleries, demanding that they deny my latest application for a press card, hear me out. Being rambunctious to the extreme, yellow journalism is misunderstood. At its best, yellow journalism was terrific, and at its worst, it really wasn’t all that bad.

Uhm. Yeah.

Isn’t yellow journalism the gold standard of cable news?