Malcolm Gladwell denies Lehrer plagiarized him


On Tuesday Jim Romenesko ran a post on his blog that showed how Jonah Lehrer, the New Yorker’s new staff writer, had copied sections of his previous writing and repurposed them for his recent pieces, verbatim. Bloggers quickly found more instances, including one in which Lehrer appeared not to copy himself, but Malcom Gladwell, another New Yorker staff writer. Gladwell and Lehrer both use the same quote from William Goldman’s book, Adventures in the Screen Trade, and introduce the quote with the same language.

In a recent Reuters column, Jack Shafer mentioned that allegation. Gladwell, in the comments section, offered his response to the allegation:

In 2006, I quoted a line from William Goldman about how no one knows anything in Hollywood. In Imagine, Jonah Lehrer quotes the same line. This is not surprising, since Goldman’s comment is one of the most famous things ever written about Hollywood and has been quoted, by journalists, probably hundreds of times since it was written. If Lehrer is plagiarizing me, by quoting the same quote I quoted, then I am plagiarizing the person who used that quote before me, and that person is plagiarizing the person who quoted it before them, and so on and so forth, and we have a daisy chain of “plagiarizing” going back forty years and plagiarism, as a ethical concept, has ceased to mean anything at all.

By the way, if I run across the same absurd allegation anywhere else, I intend to reproduce my comment verbatim. Why? Because I thought about what I wanted to say, I’m comfortable with the way I said it, and I see no reason to tinker with my own language for the sake of tinkering with my own language.

On the front line with female war reporters


Female war correspondents are no longer a novelty. The legendary 20th century author and journalist Martha Gellhorn broke that mold around 80 years ago, and in recent times many of our most accomplished journalists and chroniclers of war zones — among them CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the BBC’s formidable Kate Adie, Alex Crawford from Sky News and others — just happened to be women.

Male news executives like to think we have become more enlightened over the years as we made decisions about who should cover wars and who was not suited and should stay at home.

FOMC statement word cloud


FOMC statement word cloud

Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Culp

The euro zone deal diagram


A diagram of “the euro zone rescue deal” shared by an unidentified adviser with one of the EU governments involved in the negotiations.

A belated disclosure


On August 22, published a video entitled “Twitter through the eye of an artist,” a profile of the New York-based artist Michelle Vaughn. Vaughn is married to Reuters blogger Felix Salmon; although Salmon played no role in producing the video, that relationship should have been disclosed in the video. Reuters apologizes for the omission.

WITNESS: An evening with Ratko Mladic


By Paul Holmes

More than 18 years have passed since my first encounter with Ratko Mladic but I still see him standing there, an intense, angry look in his eyes.  He clasped his hands together and squeezed them more and more tightly until his fingers turned red and his knuckles went white.

I had asked the Bosnian Serb commander about the siege his forces had laid to the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica.  The massacre there, the worst of the many atrocities perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims by Mladic’s army, was still two years away but this was his way of demonstrating that there would be no escape for its inhabitants.

Tarmac torture


By Chris Taylor

“You weren’t on that Cathay Pacific flight, were you?”

People have been asking me this question with a unique mix of sympathy and outright horror. And the answer is yes. The one that idled for 11 hours on the tarmac of New York’s JFK Airport, as we waited in vain for a gate. With two kids crawling over me, ages 2 and 5.

Yes, I was on that flight. And this is what it was like.

It was actually our second time boarding Flight 888, since the previous day, we’d been delayed until 1 a.m. and then sat on the Vancouver tarmac for three hours, until they finally sent us away at around 4 a.m. because of the blizzard in New York City. Frustrating, sure. But still within the bounds of human normalcy.

The dinosaur has arrived — an original story by R.L. Stine


BRITAIN-BRAND/– This original story by R.L. Stine was written for R.L.’s books are read all over the world. So far, he has sold over 350 million books, making him one of the best-selling children’s authors in history. –

Shivering in the hall, I looked forward to the warmth of the radio studio.  I felt the cold as if it was trapped inside my overcoat. The frosted glass of the door looked like snow to me. I pushed it open with one gloved hand.

A future for news

- A Future for News Devin Wenig CEO, Thomson Reuters Markets Much of the last few years have been spent discussing how journalism will survive in the face of the immense changes taking place in the industry.  The digital revolution, the shift in advertising based business models and the explosion of content sources has turned the consuming, dissemination and publishing of news on its head. But the debate has shifted from will it survive to how will it survive?  How will media organizations deliver value while adapting to consumers new demands and capabilities, which will only continue to change? Blaming Google for disrupting the advertising market or waiting for the iPad to replicate offline content are not strategies. Overcapacity and commoditization are not the most popular industry topics to discuss. But look at any news aggregation site and the thousands of stories about any given current event that have little or no differentiation and it’s self evident. When local markets were walled off and self sustainable, there was room for this level of duplication. In the age of information ubiquity, there is not. News organizations need a horizontal platform. They need a broad, fast and fact-based news capability. The only economic model that makes sense is a shared industry capability. However, no single news provider can provide all the requirements in a rapidly shifting and dynamic markets for current awareness. Thomson Reuters is investing heavily in news.  We believe that our history, brand and broad capability give us an excellent starting position to build that industry platform.  We will supplement our unique offering with investments such as the one announced today to support our US and global media business with deep US content.  Additionally, because we know that we will never be able to satisfy all of the industry’s needs, we’ll also provide a platform so that sources can monetize their news and content through our distribution channels. That marriage will make the industry more efficient while freeing up journalists to focus on really adding value for their customers. Where is that value? In vertical content and in true digital innovation. Vertical, valuable journalism is ultimately about expertise and about connecting the dots. It can be based on an editorial voice, a point of view or a set of common interests. While profit pools have been eroded in general news, they have gathered in vertical markets such as corporate industry news and deep expertise in topics of interest such as sports, politics, weather and many other niches.  Editors in these verticals generally have a distinct editorial voice and deep connection to the producers and the consumers of newsflow. When journalism at this level really connects, it can reflect or even create a “virtual community.” For Thomson Reuters, vertical content means the world’s deepest, fastest and most relevant news for professionals. Our editorial goal is to be indispensable to our customers. High value added journalism is critical, but technology and content are now inseparable, if they ever were.  The ability to create utility, collaborate, moderate and build exciting shared user experiences has never been greater. It means recognizing that the expectations of individuals who have grown up in the age of search, multimedia, and mobility is just different. There is no single model of innovation and no magic formula. But it’s clear that experiences based only on linear text will be a challenge for media organizations looking to meaningfully connect with media consumers. Great journalism still matters and is as valued as it has ever been, but that alone is not the end of the discussion. Returns will accrue to those who rethink the user experience rather than replicating it. Thomson Reuters is investing heavily in its product line and has launched major new innovations this year to create intuitive, engaging and adaptable services which push the limits of interaction with news and information. In a media world moving as fast as the present one, it’s easy to get caught up in the flavor of the day.  But playing the long game in news is the best way to sustain valuable journalism and create a viable business model that resonates and adds value to consumers.

Devin Wenig is CEO, Thomson Reuters Markets

Much of the last few years have been spent discussing how journalism will survive in the face of the immense changes taking place in the industry.  The digital revolution, the shift in advertising-based business models and the explosion of content sources has turned the consuming, dissemination and publishing of news on its head.

Most popular videos of 2010


From the iPad to a bus siege in Manila to top model gaffes and bejeweled bras, 2010 was an eventful year. Reuters videographers were on the scene at many of these major stories to bring viewers the latest news, often at great risk to themselves as seen by the tragic death of a Reuters cameraman in Thailand.  Their work, sometimes daring, sometimes fun, prompted our audience to click and share. Here’s a look at the most popular video from each month.

JANUARY: Apple ready for big device debut

The launch of Apple’s iPad was a highly anticipated event and it propelled this preview video to the most popular for January.