From Stephen S. Hall’s review of Jonah Lehrer’s “How We Decide” in the Summer 2009 issue of Columbia Magazine (second item on the page):
Despite Lehrer’s agile handling of a lot of complicated material, I never was quite sure about the line that separated his reporting from other people’s work. Lehrer’s account of the disastrous 1949 firefighting episode in Montana, for example, with which he began his July 2008 story about insight in the New Yorker, apparently represents no original reporting, but instead is an elaborate four-page retelling of Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire (1992).
Lehrer mentions the Maclean book in the main text, yet oddly doesn’t attribute his very detailed account to it. This and other derivative anecdotes are written with such immediacy and visceral detail that it is the kind of prose we normally associate with eyewitness reporting or fastidious, scrupulously sourced reconstruction. At minimum, it would have been gracious to acknowledge Maclean explicitly in the text as the main source of Lehrer’s extended, vivid account.
* Lehrer “understands he made a serious mistake,” says his editor (JimRomenesko.com)
Will Jonah Lehrer remain at The New Yorker?
NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thompson “couldn’t comment on Lehrer’s future at the magazine,” writes Jacob Silverman, but Thompson made it clear that the recycling issue first disclosed on JimRomenesko.com “was considered serious and had been expressed as such to Lehrer.”
“We’ve been on the phone back and forth throughout the day,” Thompson said. “He understands he made a serious mistake. He understands the rules. It’s definitely not going to happen again.”
Searching for a silver lining, Thompson said, “I think the one good thing that will come out of it is making it very clear is that this is unacceptable.”
* Jonah Lehrer’s self-plagiarism scandal rocks The New Yorker (Daily Beast)
* Lehrer plagiarized himself because he stopped being a writer and became an idea man (Slate)
* How Lehrer recycled his own material for “Imagine” (edrants.com)
Illustration by Dale Stephanos
“Everything open,” says Gawker founder Nick Denton. “All secrets out there.”
Daniel D’Addario writes in the New York Observer:
The question arises: Is there no sphere of privacy for the celebrity anymore? After all, straight celebrity couples from Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem to Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t acknowledge any element of their love in public, though they’re also not asked if they’re heterosexual. Why should Anderson Cooper or Queen Latifah have to dish about their love lives—or even acknowledge their sexuality?
* Celebs struggle to keep sexuality secretish, but media make mischief (observer.com)
* “Everyone knows that Anderson Cooper is gay,” says Nick Denton (Capital New York)
* NPR intern says she’s purchased only 15 CDs in her life, yet has 11,000 songs in her iTunes library. (New York Times)
* Reno Gazette-Journal photo chief is thrown to ground by deputies at a fire scene, cuffed and given a citation. (Reno Gazette-Journal)
* Salisbury (Md.) Daily Times reporter quits over prank call to mayor. (Gannett Blog)
* ESPN director of news has little use for Twitter. (Sherman Report)
* A j-school dean is worried about the chasm between working journalists and j-profs. (LSU.edu)
* Best student newspaper special issues of 2011-2012. (College Media Matters)
* Arkansas Democratic Party says it was wrong to bar reporter from witnessing disputed election of delegates. (Arkansas News)
* Financial journalist Dan Dorfman “was for much of the 1990s considered the most influential stock tipster in the country.” (New York Times)
* Sacramento Bee restaurant critic apologizes for “unfortunate error.” (sacbee.com)