By: Graham Webster
Michael Cooke, editor of the New York Daily News, was defiant Wednesday in face of charges by the New York Post that he had violated journalistic conventions by republishing in Sunday’s News a story he wrote and published last year at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was then editor.
“If you want to turn the journalism police on someone, I suggest the journalism police look at what they’re doing,” Cooke told E&P about the Post’s charges. He framed the Post story as part of an ongoing battle between the papers. “I’m a target, and they’re making it personal,” he added.
The story, a first-person account of a trip to an exclusive castle in England, ran almost identically in the Sun-Times less than a year before it ran in the Daily News. Cooke joined the Daily News in February.
In the Post’s story today, Keith J. Kelly writes, “It is not quite plagiarism — since he was the author of both pieces — but it does raise credibility questions, some experts say, and may be a technical violation of international copyright laws.”
The Post story quoted Columbia Journalism Review editor Michael Hoyt as calling Cooke’s re-use of the story “a bit cheesy.”
Refusing to comment on whether the Daily News had discussed any ethical questions prior to reprinting the story, Cooke said: “I think actions speak louder than words. Action is character, and character is action.”
Calling the story “a function of the tabloid war,” Daily News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy also characterized the story as an attack. “The Post, they really will stop at nothing in terms of the Daily News,” she said.
Why, then, give the rival paper this ammunition?
“We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the Post when we’re putting together the paper,” Murphy said.