08/31/2006 01:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Paper Trail: NYPost Chats With ETP about The Katie Couric Rip-Off

Eat The Press has been rather vocal in our criticism of the New York Post and the New York Daily News for their abject poachery of the TVNewser Katie Couric slimdown item.

Today, we were surprised and delighted to find a missive from the author of the NYP article, Don Kaplan, in our inbox, enlightening us on the behind-the-scenes rationale for not crediting the story that the Post hadn't come up with:

Hey Sparky,

The New York Post's television section editor Mike Shain (my boss)
just sent this email to the editorial director of Media Bistro,
Dorian Benkoil [], who wanted to know where
we first saw the story about Katie Couric photo being altered and
why TVNewser wasn't credited in our story.

Don Kaplan


Apologies for not getting back sooner -- it's deadline time around here. I saw it first on NewsBlues then later in the day on TV Newser. By yesterday evening, the pictures were in so many places on the web, I don't believe credit was any longer an issue. Once any news organization can confirm a news break on its own, credit is sort of out the window.

I have lots of respect for Brian and think he's doing an extremely good job. But if you look below, you will see just a sample of how we handled things we picked up from you guys in the past year or so. When you are the source, we say so.

[Shain then includes a few examples of the NYP attributing quotes to TVNewser]

Sparky's response after the jump, if you are so inclined.

NB: Kaplan's email was actually addressed to post co-author Sven Hodges; I responded as ETP editor and as co-author of the post, and as the sparkier of the two.

Here's what I think: Past episodes of crediting TVNewser are great, and wholly appropriate since he was the source. He was the source in this case, too, and found a story you guys would otherwise never have noticed and subsequently plastered across your front page. The pictures were all over the web because it was a GREAT story - TVNewser's story, not yours. Shain can say he "didn't believe credit was an issue" but it's not for him to believe or disbelieve, it's a pretty basic journalistic tenet: credit the source. It would have taken four words - "first posted on TVNewser" - to have dispensed with that fundamental. Your readers would have still gotten their fill of Katie, and the Post's credibility would have been unscathed. Frankly, I just think that for an organization with the Post's resources and history of legitimate newsgathering, such blatant, brazen poaching should have been beneath you (and here I will add that you ripped off a 20-year old blogger. Gimme your wrist. Smack.) The right thing to do here is for the Post to apologize for the oversight and run a correction addressing the omission. Coverup's worse than the crime, my friend.

In other news, whoever your mole at SNL is, tell 'em they're fools if they get rid of Parnell.

Thanks for reading!


Kaplan responded very graciously and gave me permission to post the exchange. He did not, however, tell me who his source was at SNL. Hmph.