The New York Times is looking into the work of a reporter over similarities between a piece published last month and an article on Wikipedia.
The response comes after MediaBistro’s Richard Horgan reported on Monday that a July 24 article by Times reporter Carol Vogel strongly resembles a portion of a Wikipedia page on Italian Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo.
In the lede of her piece, titled “A Renaissance Master Finally Gets a Showcase,” Vogel wrote:
He is said to have been terrified of thunderstorms and so pyrophobic that he rarely cooked his food, subsisting mostly on hard-boiled eggs that he prepared 50 at a time while heating glue for his art. He didn’t clean his studio. He didn’t trim the trees in his orchard. Giorgio Vasari, the Renaissance biographer, described Piero as living “more like a beast than a man.”
Vogel’s introduction is quite similar to a portion of Piero’s biography on Wikipedia:
Reportedly, he was frightened of thunderstorms, and so pyrophobic that he rarely cooked his food; he lived largely on hard-boiled eggs, which he prepared 50 at a time while boiling glue for his artworks. He also resisted any cleaning of his studio, or trimming of the fruit trees of his orchard; he lived, wrote Vasari, “more like a beast than a man”.
The Wikipedia page was last revised in May.
Vogel has had some attribution problems in the past. Gawker’s J.K. Trotter noted that she was criticized three separate times last year by Modern Art Notes’ Tyler Green for failing to properly the cite the reporting of others.
Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Trotter, “We’re aware of the situation and are looking into it.”
When reached by TPM via email on Tuesday afternoon, Murphy said the Times had nothing more to add on the matter at this time.
The questions surrounding Vogel’s work follow last week’s revelations of serial plagiarism by former BuzzFeed viral politics editor Benny Johnson, which were brought to light by a pair of anonymous Twitter sleuths.
Johnson was fired late Friday after his editors found 41 instances of plagiarism during his time at BuzzFeed.