Former New York Daily News editor Jotham Sederstrom spoke publicly about his firing for the first time Thursday, writing a statement on Medium taking full blame for the large blocks of texts from other publications’ articles that appeared in Shaun King columns without quotes or attribution.
Sederstrom began by praising King’s “passionate writing” and absolving him of any responsibility. “This was my fault and I accept 100% of the blame,” he said.
The longtime NYDN employee admits that even he doesn’t understand how the attribution got removed, blaming his long hours and hectic workdays: “I believe I likely cut attribution from the top of Shaun’s quoted text with the intention of pasting them back inside the block — only to get distracted with another of the many responsibilities I juggled as an editor.”
“Many of us in the news industry are increasingly under pressure to deliver an ever higher volume of stories with ever fewer resources and let’s just say, that doesn’t help,” he continued. “I don’t say that to absolve myself of blame, but to illustrate how this happened with no intention on my part to damage Shaun’s reputation or the paper’s.”
Sederstrom was somewhat critical of editor-in-chief Jim Rich‘s statement announcing his firing. “I take issue with Jim Rich’s assertion that these mistakes were ‘inexplicable,'” he said, later adding that “I believe the statement issued by Jim as the story was still evolving cast more suspicion than necessary.”
Lastly, he apologized personally to the reporters at The Daily Beast and FiveThirtyEight who were inadvertently plagiarized: “I absolutely did not mean to do that, and fundamentally believe that proper citation is crucial to upholding basic journalistic standards and ensuring transparency about the reporting process with readers. I am sorry.”
[Image via screengrab]
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