Jill Abramson acknowledges citation errors in new book after plagiarism allegations

Jill Abramson acknowledges citation errors in new book after plagiarism allegations
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Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson acknowledged Thursday that some parts of her new book were not properly cited after multiple individuals raised claims that she lifted material.

In a statement to The Washington Post, Abramson said certain footnotes in her book, "Merchants of Truth," don't match up correctly with the material in the book, and that certain passages should have been cited as direct quotations.

"I was up all night going through my book because I take these claims of plagiarism so seriously," Abramson said in the statement to the Post. "In writing Merchants of Truth, I tried above all to accurately and properly give attribution to the many hundreds of sources that were part of my research.


"I wouldn’t want even a misplaced comma so I will promptly fix these footnotes and quotations as I have corrected other material that Vice contested," she added. "The book is over 500 pages. All of the ideas in the book are original, all the opinions are mine. The passages in question involve facts that should have been perfectly cited in my footnotes and weren’t."

The statement came less than a day after two individuals raised allegations that Abramson had lifted material for her book, which assesses the state of the news industry.

Vice News correspondent Michael Moynihan posted a series of tweets on Wednesday that noted six examples where Abramson's book appeared to lift material from articles in The New Yorker, the Columbia Journalism Review and a piece in Time Out magazine.

Writer Ian Frisch separately accused the former New York Times editor of taking passages from some of his work. He noted that he was credited in the footnotes of Abramson's book, but suggested that Abramson did not provide an indication of how extensively she used his work.

Abramson was initially dismissive of the allegations, telling Fox News on Wednesday night that "I certainly didn’t plagiarize in my book and there’s 70 pages of footnotes showing where I got the information."

In a series of tweets issued later that night, she pinned the criticism of her book on some Vice News employees' "unhappiness" with her portrayal of the outlet, but pledged to "review the passages in question."

Abramson wrote for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for years before being named the Times's executive editor in 2011. She held that role for roughly three years before being ousted.

She is now a teacher at Harvard University.

Bill Keller, who served as executive editor of the Times before Abramson, defended his former longtime colleague in a tweet on Thursday, writing that it was "distressing that some apparent carelessness in attribution might overshadow her achievement."