NY Times Writer Zachery Kouwe Resigns After Plagiarizing

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A portrait of Zachery Kouwe from his old writer's page at the New York Times (Credit: NYtimes.com)

New York Times reporter Zachery Kouwe resigned after it was revealed that he had plagiarized repeatedly from a Wall Street Journal article, and, according to the Times, “Reuters and other sources.”

The New York Times  scandal that is uppermost in people’s minds involved reporter Jayson Blair, who plagiarized and fabricated for years at the newspaper, and recently gave a series of ethics lectures last fall. Now, another New York Times reporter has been found blatantly appropriating other writers’ work.

Kouwe’s plagiarism was pointed out to the New York Times in a letter from Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson.  According to the New York Observer,

In the letter, Mr. Thomson cites six examples of material where he believes Times reporter Zachery Kouwe plagiarized Journal reporter Amir Efrati from a story that was published on Feb. 5. The Journal‘s story was published on the Dow Jones Newswires at 12:31pm on Feb. 5, and the Times story was published nearly two hours later, Mr. Thomson wrote.

Thomson’s letter lists several examples of similar sentences in Dow and Efrati’s stories. All of the examples clearly show a nearly word for word match.  Here is one:

Mr. Efrati wrote:
Mr. Picard said the family received about $141 million in the six months leading up to Mr. Madoff’s December 2008 arrest.

Mr. Kouwe wrote:
Mr. Picard said the family received about $141 million in the six months leading up to Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008.

In a subsequent editors note, the Times wrote,

In a number of business articles in The Times over the past year, and in posts on the DealBook blog on NYTimes.com, a Times reporter appears to have improperly appropriated wording and passages published by other news organizations.

Copying language directly from other news organizations without providing attribution – even if the facts are independently verified – is a serious violation of Times policy and basic journalistic standards. It should not have occurred. The matter remains under investigation by The Times, which will take appropriate action consistent with our standards to protect the integrity of our journalism.

The Wall Street Journal writes that Kouwe worked as a reporter at Dow Jones Newsletters before moving to the Post and then on to the Times in 2008. “Both the Post and Newsletters, as well as Dow Jones Newswires, are owned by News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal,” they write.

According to the Observer, Kouwe resigned saying he was “as surprised as anyone that this was occurring.” Kouwe tells the Post his plagiarism was unintentional, explaining “I was stupid and careless and f_ked up and thought it was my own stuff, or it somehow slipped in there. I think that’s what probably happened.”

Last December, The Wall Street Journal was also host to a plagiarist. As StinkyJournalism wrote, WSJ columnist Mona Sarika was found to have copied from several other publications.

Just last week writer Gerald Posner left the Daily Beast after plagiarism was found in his work.

StinkyJournalism has attempted to contact Kouwe to ask him more about this breach.  We will update with any response.

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NY Times Writer Zachery Kouwe Resigns After Plagiarizing

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