Just weeks shy of his planned semi-retirement, famed media blogger Jim Romenesko has resigned from his position at Poynter after being accused of improperly attributing quotes in his blog, Romenesko+.
The charge came in an article written by Julie Moos, the director of Poynter Online, who said Romenesko's "imperfect attribution" had failed to meet "the highest standards of journalism excellence" that the site works hard to adhere to.
"Though information sources have always been displayed prominently in Jim's posts and are always linked at least once (often multiple times), too many of those posts also included the original author's verbatim language without containing his or her words in quotation marks, as they should have," she wrote.
According to her post, Romenesko offered to resign and she refused to accept his resignation at the time.
At 8:15 p.m. on Thursday night, Moos published a second post, announcing Romenesko's departure.
After twelve years of blogging at Poynter, Jim Romenesko has submitted his resignation and I have accepted it. Jim has decided he's ready for a fresh start now -- seven weeks before he was scheduled to become a part-time employee and start his own blog.
His decision comes after Poynter.org published a story about questionable attribution in Jim's posts. I've closely followed the reaction to this on Twitter, Facebook and the comments on our site and others. I'm relieved that many readers and sources understood Jim's intent to credit properly and felt fairly treated by him.
This was not the transition Jim and I planned during our talks this summer, and it's not the end I wanted. Nor was it the end he wanted, as he told The New York Times.
You can read the whole post here.
Earlier in the day, Romenesko tweeted to his 36,920 followers to ask if he had even been unfair in his aggregation. "Have I ever summarized your posts? Was I fair, or did you feel I stole your words? Please let me know on Facebook," he wrote.
Later, he tweeted "NYT reports accurately that I asked a 2nd time to be released from contract 7 wks early. I feel it's time to go."
Media reaction to Poynter's story on Romenesko was swift and harsh.
From the New York Times:
Journalists from across the country unleashed a torrent of criticism on Poynter's Web site on Thursday, accusing it of being school-marmish and petty, and for tarnishing the name of a man who is deeply admired by his colleagues.
"Seriously, Poynter?" asked one. "THIS is the issue that you get outraged about? THIS is the issue that leads you to plant your flag on morals, ethics and proper journalistic behavior?"
As HuffPost's Michael Calderone reported in August, Romenesko is launching his own site in January and had planned to reduce his work with Poynter to part-time.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the 57-year-old journalist said he's been thinking about doing something new for awhile and must have gotten the "12-year itch." (He left Milwaukee magazine after 12 years, too). "I went back and forth to renewing (my contract), not renewing," Romenesko said. "In the end, I decided I wanted to go back and do my own blog, the way I was before Poynter picked me up."
After his resignation was accepted, Romenesko tweeted his gratitude to his followers for their support.
The name of the Poynter blog, Romenesko+, will be changed in coming days, said Moos, though she added the beloved media writer "will remain an important part of Poynter's legacy, one we value."