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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Colford’

Attribution Problem: AP Swipes Story From The Hill

It takes a certain amount of clumsiness to break something that’s already broken.

The Hill‘s Alexandra Jaffe broke the news yesterday that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was distancing himself from remarks made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in,” Brown told The Hill. He was referring to Romney’s recently surfaced comments that labeled “47 percent” of Americans as people who feel “entitled” to government benefits.

Jaffe’s story was picked up by HuffPost, Political Wire and Politico, all of which attributed The Hill for breaking it.

The AP also picked it up.

Shortly after Jaffe’s story broke, AP reporter Steve LeBlanc wrote the same story, correctly paraphrasing Brown’s quotes. What was missing, however, was any attribution to The Hill.

LeBlanc’s story was updated later with actual quotes from Brown, the same quotes from Jaffe’s story. But LeBlanc’s article attributed them to a statement from Brown’s office. The first version of his story did not attribute to any statement.

Pictured is a screen capture of LeBlanc’s original story.

The Boston Herald‘s Hillary Chabot wrote the same story, attributing the same quotes to a statement. NYT did the same.

We requested comment from the AP media relations, LeBlanc and Chabot. A publicist is looking into it.

We’ve also sought comment from Brown’s campaign office to clarify if they sent out a statement with the same quotes after The Hill‘s story was published. But even if that is the case, the paraphrased version of LeBlanc’s story still did not cite The Hill for breaking the news.

UPDATE: AP’s Paul Colford explains…

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AP Denies Dwindling Convention Coverage

With newsroom budgets shrinking, so is the number of reporters who can attend the conventions. AP is planning a cut in convention staffing, down to what we’re told is a roughly 50 percent decrease and 10 print side staff for both conventions. But AP Spokesman Paul Colford insists the assessment is untrue.

“With text reporters, video journalists, AP Radio staff and photographers, we plan to be well equipped to cover both conventions,” Colford told FishbowlDC.

“Expect much smaller Associated Press footprint this year at the two conventions,” a source tells us, albeit anonymously.

Pressing him further about the cuts, Colford added, “The number you have is incorrect (10). It overlooks reporters with the candidates, locally based AP reporters and others (see my previous email). AP’s coverage of the campaign to date has been extraordinary. We are sure to provide robust coverage that’s just as strong from the conventions.”

AP Senior Managing Editor for U.S. News Mike Oreskes also denied the alleged dwindling coverage further, saying, “The conventions are set-piece events and we have planned the staffing carefully to provide considerable coverage without wasting time and talent that can be better applied to other parts of the campaign (where, by the way, we have been very strong).”

UPDATE: Colford adds, “Fewer people than at previous conventions, yes – totaling more than 30 in all across all platforms at each convention. The 10… is the total number of national print reporters among the 30-plus.”

Howard Kurtz Breaks Katie Couric Story, AP Creeps in a Week Later

On Monday the AP wrote that CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric will leave the network when her contract expires in June. The rest of their story was about the program’s slipping ratings. A buried graph speculated that Couric’s successor may be Scott Pelley of “60 Minutes,” but that CBS would seek replacements “both inside and outside of the company.”

The story cited a “network executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Couric has not officially announced her plans.”

But wait. Didn’t we hear this a week ago?

We did. From The Daily Beast‘s Washington bureau chief, Howard Kurtz.

On March 25, Kurtz reported that Couric was “very likely to leave in June, and Scott Pelley is a top contender to replace her – but CBS is looking both within and outside the network.”

The AP also reported that Couric was “expected to launch a syndicated talk show in 2012.” Ten days earlier, Kurtz wrote: “[Couric] is now exploring daytime or syndication deals” and mentioned a 2012 launch.

It’s odd that the AP wouldn’t reference Kurtz at all, given that he wrote what amounts to the same story more than a week earlier.

Kurtz told FishbowlDC: “I wrote on Mar. 25 that CBS was searching for a successor, that Couric’s departure ‘now seems almost certain and that Scott Pelley was a leading candidate to replace her. It was hard to miss, since Drudge bannered it. So the AP story, which used slightly stronger language, wasn’t news to me.”

Paul Colford at the AP said the reason their story seems to be getting attention is “because it attributed Katie Couric’s exit from the anchor chair to a…’network executive,’” citing HuffPost, which included that attribution in their headline.

Note to Readers: We’ve removed the word “more” from the above post to reflect that AP‘s Colford does not believe that the AP‘s story got “more” attention than Kurtz’s piece. On the larger, more important matter of why AP never cited Kurtz’s story? AP won’t talk about it. — BR

Layoffs at AP

More bad news.

Our friends at FishbowlNY are reporting layoffs at AP — 11 staffers in total. Paul Colford, director of media relations for AP, has confirmed the news. He said employees received notices “late last week and today”.

Colford said “no one else” was affected. He added, “We have continued to look at the business and where we need to go up or down in staff size.”

See the full report here.

Noon Reading List: 05.11.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

It is day 112 covering the Obama administration and week 15 for us. Sorry for the late start- we’re still recovering from WHCD weekend. What we know and what we’re reading this Monday morning…



“A lack of vision is to blame for newspapers’ woes,” writes WaPo‘s Howard Kurtz.


NBC responds to a Page Six item today about Luke Russert to TVNewser. “It’s unfortunate that a gossip column would choose to attack a hard working, talented young man who is getting a great start as a broadcast journalist,” a NBC News spokesperson said.


Reuters: News Corp. will introduce “micro payments” for articles and premium subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal’s Web site. “Once we have your details we will be able to charge you according to what you read, in particular, a high price for specialist material,” said Journal editor Robert Thomson.


NYT‘s Frank RichThe American Press on Suicide Watch“: Without [journalists'] enterprise, to take a few representative recent examples, we would not have known about the wretched conditions for our veterans at Walter Reed, the government’s warrantless wiretapping, the scams at Enron or steroids in baseball.

And from Maureen Dowd in NYT: “I dreamed that Spock saved our planet, The Daily Planet of journalism,” writes Maureen Dowd.

And Time asks, “As Newsrooms Cut Back, Who Covers the Statehouse?


Politico: Members of the White House press corps are grumbling about a spate of background briefings by “senior administration officials.” “We’ve been concerned about the needless use of ‘on-background’ briefings when it comes to sharing straightforward information,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said.

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