October 13, 2004

Always nice to be recognized. Or, you know, not recognized.

A few readers have alerted me that The Durham Herald-Sun re-reported my New Yorker article without attribution. I don't really mind. It's a nice professional courtesy, but it's not required -- though I'd probably be more peeved if this had been a story I went out and found rather than an assignment.

The part that's a little off-putting is that the AP picked up the Herald-Sun article, putting it out with a headline and lede graf that spins it as a story about deceiving the New York Times. Obviously there's an element of that in this tale, but it hardly struck me as the main point. As I tried to explain to Jim Romenesko the deception may have allowed the students to avoid being automatically disqualified, but it is not what got them accepted. Or to put it another way, the kids didn't trick the Times into running their letters; they tricked the paper into not deleting their letters unread.

The petty trickery -- I can't condone the use, in two instances, of fake names, but is it so bad to sign a letter from the place where you live rather than the place where you happen to be spending the summer? -- also never seemed to me the most interesting aspect of the story. I wonder if the AP writer drew it out because, as a journalist, he identified more with the plight of the Times than with the achievement of the kids.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Heh. The Newsday version of the AP story is now on the front of Drudge.

"NYT 'Deceived' by Letters From Duke Students..."

I'm sorry to say your piece did not merit an all-caps hed.

I think it's a simple case of NYTimes-bashing ("first Blair ... now this!") and, by extension, "liberal"- and "liberal media"-bashing. The ed.s of the rags in the hinterlands know what plays to the local audiences.

Of course, in the ongoing "NYTimes duped!" storyline, no wire service (save Knight-Ridder) or local editor will include Judy "Kneepads" Miller in the anecdotal data ...

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