Washington Post public editor Patrick Pexton addressed attribution in a recent blog post. Pexton noted that writers for the Washington Post and the New York Times used the same metaphor in an article about U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy.
But, while the Times attributed the metaphor — that McIlroy “doesn’t treat the world like his spittoon,” — to Golf Digest columnist Tom Callahan, the Washington Post didn’t attribute the metaphor.
According to Pexton, both the NYTimes‘ Larry Dorman and the Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins spoke with Golf Digest’s Callahan and Callahan made the same reference to both. Jenkins asked Callahan if she could use the metaphor, which he OK’ed so she didn’t attribute the reference. Pexton noted that he confirmed that version of events with Callahan and Jenkins.
While Pexton noted there was “no harm done to Callahan,” he still commented that he thinks Jenkins should have attributed the metaphor to Callahan.