People, Etc.

Julie MacKay has joined Scribd as manager, content acquisition, working out of the company's New York office. Previously she worked as a foreign rights manager for Janklow & Nesbit. In addition, Greg Freed has been named content operations specialist, working from Scribd's San Francisco office. Previously he was director of production and distribution at RosettaBooks.

On Tuesday NY Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan sharply criticized the paper's reporting earlier this month on a plagiarism claim against Rick Perlstein's THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE. After fielding letters from those including Jeffrey Toobin, who characterized Perlstein's chief accuser, Craig Shirley as "a right-leaning writer and consultant" and called the claim "a political attack on Perlstein dressed up as a journalistic ethics controversy", as well as from Perlstein himself, Sullivan spoke with reporter Alexandra Alter and her editors Peter Lattman and Bill Brink, the latter saying the plagiarism accusation was newsworthy "because it was out there and thought we could take it head-on in the story. We did that in the most responsible way possible, and put it in context."

Sullivan, however, did not see it the NYT's way: "An article about polarized reaction to a high-profile book is, of course, fair game. But the attention given to the plagiarism accusation is not." The claim may have been circulating but, Sullivan said, "so are smears of all kinds as well as claims that the earth is flat and that climate change is unfounded." Taking Shirley's claim seriously "conferred a legitimacy on the accusation it would not otherwise have had" and "amplified a damaging accusation of plagiarism without establishing its validity and doing so in a way that is transparent to the reader."