Did The New York Times Steal A Story From Newsweek?

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An Argentinean blogger says Denny Lee, a travel writer for the New York Times, stole the bulk of a recent story from Newsweek. In a long, well-researched piece, Taos Turner of the Argentine Post alleges that Lee recycled significant material from a year old Newsweek article on Buenos Aires’ cultural scene for a recent New York Times story about… Buenos Aires’ cultural scene.

Turner claims numerous paragraphs were rewritten by Lee. Two examples:

Newsweek — “Champagne-fueled fashion shows and gallery openings keep the city’s glitterati on a 24/7 social schedule. Casting agents scour bars looking for young English or Mandarin speakers for the dozens of foreign commercials regularly being shot in the city.”

New York Times — “Video directors are scouting tango ballrooms for English-speaking actors. Wine-soaked gallery openings and behemoth gay discos are keeping the city’s insomniacs up till sunrise.”

Newsweek — “Dozens of blogs written by expats enthusiastically tout the good life on offer in B.A.”

New York Times — “Like dozens of similar blogs written by foreigners, it rhapsodizes about the Argentine good life.”

In addition, Lee either quoted or referred to eight of the 12 expats mentioned in the original article. Surprising enough, given the large size of the creative community among Buenos Aires’ Anglophone expats… But it gets worse.

One of the expats mentioned in the story, author Marina Palmer, had moved to the United Kingdom in September — well before the article was written. Palmer claims Lee had never interviewed her for the article.

As Turner puts it, “It appears that Lee took the entire skeleton of the Newsweek story and used it as his own without crediting Newsweek.”

If that isn’t bad enough… if true (and we’re not saying it is!), this would mark the second time in two months the Times was caught appropriating material from an outside source for a story about Argentina. A February story about Argentinean drug use stole material from The Miami Herald.

The author of the original Newsweek piece was Brian Byrnes.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Lee as the Travel & Escapes editor of the New York Times. Lee is a contributing writer.