NYT Public Editor: ‘Little Dispute’ Of Similarity Between Reporter’s Story And Wikipedia


New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan weighed-in Wednesday on
charges that one of the paper’s reporters adapted text for an article from Wikipedia.

The Times is investigating the work of reporter Carol Vogel, whose July 24 article on Piero di Cosimo bears a strong resemblance to the Wikipedia entry about the Italian Renaissance painter.

Sullivan wrote that there “can be little dispute” about the parallels, which were spotted by MediaBistro’s Richard Horgan on Monday.

“Anyone can see the similarity,” Sullivan wrote. “The question now is whether this is an isolated case or one of many instances. The Times is taking that question seriously.”

If it is indeed “isolated instance of rewriting Wikipedia,” Sullivan argued that Vogel did not commit a “firing offense.”

“Something like that probably warrants a written warning or a short suspension,” Sullivan wrote, adding that she has “no vote on this as public editor, and no involvement in the process.”

The Times is currently trying to determine whether Vogel has a pattern of this kind of thing. She was called out multiple times last year by the art blogger Tyler Green for failing to properly credit the reporting of others. And on Tuesday, as Sullivan herself noted, a blogger at ARTNews dug up four more possible instances “of questionable repetition” in Vogel’s work.

Sullivan pledged to update her post once she knows more.

Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.