Jim Romenesko’s departure from Poynter came as a surprise to me. His ability to collect and present journalistic news from the deepest confines of the Internet was astounding. His departure was astounding, as well.
Romenesko was a news aggregator, adding snippets of his thoughts and the piece to his Poynter blog\ and then linking back to the original story.
Poynter Online director Julie Moos believed some of the blog posts were not properly attributed and were made to appear to be his own words. Moos wanted to assign Romenesko an editor before the launch of his own website and becoming a part-time Poynter contributor
Romenesko would have nothing of it and resigned.
If I had worked for 12 years sans an editor and then was assigned an editor after there were allegedly questionable attributions, I would resign too, in such an odd circumstance.
Having read Romenesko for the last several months leading up to his resignation, I felt he could not have made it any clearer where his source material was coming from. Did he quote everything he wrote? No, but saying “The Daily Tribune reported” is sufficient enough.
Confronting Romenesko like Moos did was a cold-hearted slap in the face to journalists everywhere.
At a time when journalistic credibility is questionable on all fronts – TV, Internet and print – why would anyone perpetuate the problem when there is no problem?
With Romenesko’s rabid following among the journalism community, Moos should have realized the backlash she would receive for questioning Romenesko.
Even if some of Romenesko’s attributing practices were questionable, and they were not, he could never be compared to Lincoln Steffens’ crusade during the Muckraking era of journalism. Steffens’ outed urban corruption in his “The Shame of the Cities” series, even though someone else wrote the first piece and all he did was attach his byline.
Romenesko wasn’t a crusader, a reporter, or a man with a personal agenda of saving the world. He aggregated news about journalists for journalists. His attributions were clear to whoever was reading him, and the journalism community has lost a great member of that community.