Jim Romenesko leaves Poynter over attribution conflict

Even if you don’t know his name, if you’re interested in the media, you’ve read Jim Romenesko’s work. For 12 years he’s written about media goings-on for Poynter.org, but last night he ended their relationship. And for good reason, say many other members of the online media.

Poynter Online director Julie Moos wrote a post that said “Romenesko’s posts exhibit a pattern of incomplete attribution.” What she meant was: he sometimes doesn’t put quotation marks around text that comes from other sources, which goes against Poynter’s publishing practices and standards. She continues:

“Effective immediately, Jim’s work for Poynter will change in a few important respects. First, it will follow our standards of attribution. Second, it will be edited before it is published. I asked Jim Wednesday night to refrain from publishing while we sorted out this situation, and he has done so. Jim has offered to resign and I refused to accept his resignation. In August, Jim announced his plan to semi-retire at the end of this year.”

She posted this on Romenesko’s blog. From the tweet above, Romenesko’s next offer to resign must have stuck.

Moos’ allegation is not false, but the context in which Romenesko writes, often summarizing (and linking to) other media news stories, may excuse it. He was writing for an incredibly media-literate readership, after all. Maybe they didn’t need those quotation marks. And it seems that the people whose work Romenesko was aggregating didn’t need them either. Moos notes in her post, no writers had ever contacted Poynter to complain about his attribution style.

This isn’t the end of Romenesko’s media-watching career, though. He says will blog on his own site, JimRomenesko.com, about media issues, as well as other favourite topics, like food and finance.

What do you think of Romenesko’s attribution, or lack thereof? Did the context in which he was writing excuse it? Or was he getting away with something he shouldn’t because of his clout with the media? Would you complain if your work was used in a similar context? Comment and let us know.

Read more:

Romenesko resigns after 12 years at Poynter” [Julie Moos’ latest post on Poynter’s Romenesko+ blog]

Jim Romenesko’s departure sparks strong reaction, criticism” [Another reaction post on Romenesko+]

The Preposterous Plagiarism Assault on Romenesko” [Gawker]

The Intolerable Evolution of Poynter’s ‘Romenesko+’” [The Awl]

No Way to Treat a Romenesko” [American Journalism Review]

Jim Romenesko Leaves Poynter – And the blogosphere cries foul” [Columbia Journalism Review]

Romenesko Leaves Poynter After Conflict Over Quotes” [NYTimes Media Decoder]

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

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