New York Post freelance lifted story from Enquirer

Plagiarism in the US media has now spread to the New York Post.

The Murdoch-owned tabloid, which took delight in criticising The New York Times over its plagiarism scandal, has been taken in by a freelance who sold the Post a story about a celebrity’s row with a US chain store. The story was lifted, virtually word-for-word, from The National Enquirer.

It was the Post’s big rival, the New York Daily News, that spotted the purloined story and gleefully exposed it. The redfaced editors at the Post admitted the plagiarism and said they would apologise to the Enquirer. The freelance, Robin Gregg, who has had many bylines in the Post, apologised too – but the Post’s editor-in-chief Col Allen ordered that he must never be used again. Said one Post staffman: “It’s all very embarrassing.”

Meanwhile, at The New York Times, the investigation into reporters’ wrongdoing has turned, bizarrely, into an inquiry into the abuse of bylines.

One Times reporter, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was suspended after it was revealed that a major portion of a story he wrote a year ago about oyster fishing in Florida had come from a freelance – and he had not disclosed it to the paper. The Times ruled he should have told the paper and shared the byline.

The reporter, Rick Bragg – one of the paper’s best-known feature writers and a best-selling author – immediately announced his resignation and denounced the Times for its new “poisonous atmosphere”.

By Jeffrey Blyth in New York

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