Jim Romenesko’s Posts Exhibit ‘Pattern Of Incomplete Attribution’

Poynter.org’s Jim Romenesko, who has been aggregating stories at the wildly popular Romenesko blog for twelve years, is in a small amount of hot water.

Romenesko arguably invented aggregation (and Poynter’s Julie Moos says the same in her post today), taking snippets from stories in the media world and linking back, making his blog a must-read for anyone in journalism.

But an assistant editor at Columbia Journalism Review has noticed a problem. Moos explains: “Though information sources have always been displayed prominently in Jim’s posts and are always linked at least once (often multiple times), too many of those posts also included the original author’s verbatim language without containing his or her words in quotation marks, as they should have.”

Moos adds: “If only for quotation marks, it would be exactly right. Without those quotation marks, it is incomplete and inconsistent with our publishing practices and standards on Poynter.org.”

Romenesko told Moos that he’s been writing this way for 12 years. In that time, no writer or publication has complained to Poynter about plagiarism. But, Moos says, “They are not seeking, nor do they deserve, to have their words used without proper credit.”

Romenesko offered to resign over the issue, and Moos refused to accept his resignation, but from now on, Romenesko blog posts will be edited before publication—and they’ll use quotation marks.

The only reason this is a story, by the way, is because it was posted on Romenesko, which everyone in journoland reads. Here are some initial reactions (thanks, Storify):