John Koblin of the New York Observer has obtained the letter written by Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson to New York Times executive editor Bill Keller regarding apparent plagiarism by Times business reporter Zachery Kouwe.
The letter states six examples of Kouwe lifting verbatim or nearly verbatim passages from a Journal reporter, Amir Efrati, who had written a story related to the Bernard Madoff case.
Thomson writes, “There was no general news release about this particular story and the Journal’s coverage was informed by original reporting and a meticulous review of legal files related to the case of Mr. Bernard Madoff.
“Mr. Efrati’s Wall Street Journal story, titled, ‘Madoff Sons, Brother, Niece Being Sued by Trustees for Victims’ was published on Dow Jones Newswires at 12:25 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, and was published on WSJ.com shortly thereafter. At 2:31 p.m., Mr. Kouwe published a related, in fact, a remarkably related story. The examples below show the striking similarities.”
Later, Thomson adds, “The extensive use of such similar phrases, without any attribution, is extraordinary. This is not a case of involving a columnist with apparently perfect recall or a case of cryptomnesia, but one of fundamental journalistic integrity.”
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