T-D's still got some 'splainin' to do
You know, I really, really didn't intend to write anything involving the Times-Dispatch again (this, I assure you was not envisioned as a T-D bashing blog) but every time I think I'm out they PULL ... ME ... BACK ... IN! Saturday's front-page apology to my old employer, Style Weekly, for ripping off one of its December cover photos and headline left me baffled. Sunday's "explanation" left me stunned. I still don't get how it all happened, but you can bet I'll be calling my friends at Style tomorrow to see if they have any inside dirt. But here's what Louise Seals had to say, in a nutshell: (1) The T-D photographer had indeed seen the Style photo while she was at the candy company being profiled in its Metro Business section. (2) She was told about the similarity. (3) She shot the photo anyway and submitted it as "original work." (4) There were "troublesome similarities" between the stories themselves. (5) The T-D's story was written by a summer intern; Style's by Ed Slipek, whose vast historical and cultural knowledge of Richmond may be eclipsed only by his penchant for detail and lots and lots of words. (Anyone reading this who has ever edited Ed is smiling right now.)
How this all happened and got through the editing process though remains a mystery, thanks to Seals' vague explanation about "several newsroom processes," and "cursory" editing. It didn't satisfy my questions, either as a journalist, a T-D reader or an intensely curious former Style employee who is, frankly, watching all this a little gleefully. The T-D has followed the Little Paper That Could too many times to count. This time it followed a little too closely.