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Former NY Times editor Jill Abramson accused of plagiarism

Former NY Times editor Jill Abramson accused of plagiarism

Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson said Wednesday that she is standing by her work amid allegations that she plagiarized material for her new book, “Merchants of Truth.”

Vice News correspondent Michael Moynihan posted a series of tweets earlier Wednesday comparing parts of Abramson’s book, which assess the state of the news industry, to works published elsewhere in recent years.

He tweeted that the chapters about Vice were “clotted with mistakes,” adding that he discovered the book contained “plagiarized passages” while he was trying to confirm certain claims.

Moynihan posted a series of six photos where Abramson’s book appeared to have lifted material from articles in The New Yorker, The Columbia Journalism Review and a piece in Time Out magazine.

This paragraph can be sourced to two places: a *masters thesis* and a 2013 New Yorker piece by Lizzie Widdicombe https://t.co/ZWX5RgKxlahttps://t.co/Ux6gdDO9Qg pic.twitter.com/tSIKyRoKDP
— Michael C Moynihan (@mcmoynihan) February 6, 2019

Here Abramson–in a treatise on journalistic ethics–copies a passage from…the Columbia Journalism Reviewhttps://t.co/mZZlA4odqw pic.twitter.com/gZVxQ1dc3Z
— Michael C Moynihan (@mcmoynihan) February 6, 2019

In another thread on Twitter, writer Ian Frisch accused the former New York Times editor of taking passages from some of his work. He noted that he was credited in the footnotes of Abramson’s book, but suggested that Abramson did not provide an indication of how extensively she used his work.

pic.twitter.com/NV8JeX4bSO
— Ian Frisch (@IanFrisch) February 7, 2019

pic.twitter.com/nimPDMSKNz
— Ian Frisch (@IanFrisch) February 7, 2019

In an appearance Wednesday night on Fox News’s “The Story,” anchor Martha MacCallum asked if Abramson had any comment on the plagiarism allegations.

“I really don’t,” she said. “All I can tell you is I certainly didn’t plagiarize in my book and there’s 70 pages of footnotes showing where I got the information.”

Abramson disputed the possibility of any issues with the footnotes in her book, adding that she stands by her work completely. Writers are generally expected to credit sources in the text when quoting extensively.

In a series of tweets issued late Wednesday, she pinned the criticism of her book on some Vice News employees’ “unhappiness” with her portrayal of the outlet, but pledged to “review the passages in question.”

“I endeavored to accurately and properly give attribution to the hundreds of sources that were part of my research,” Abramson tweeted.

“I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question,” she added.

The attacks on my book from some @vicenews reflect their unhappiness with what I consider a balanced portrayal.
— Jill Abramson (@JillAbramson) February 7, 2019

I endeavored to accurately and properly give attribution to the hundreds of sources that were part of my research
— Jill Abramson (@JillAbramson) February 7, 2019

I take seriously the issues raised and will review the passages in question
— Jill Abramson (@JillAbramson) February 7, 2019

Abramson wrote for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for years before being named the Times’s executive editor in 2011. She held that role for roughly three years before being ousted.

She is now a creative writing teacher at Harvard University.