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Unfit to Read:‘Times’ Bans Weeklies

Too tempting to steal from.

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It’s mind control at the Times! John Sutter, publisher of Community Media newspapers, has long objected to the way the Times’ Sunday “City” section draws from his papers (The Villager, Downtown Express). In 2003 he got Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz to write an exposé on the uncredited pickups. Then in October, Sutter spotted an article he believed was too similar to a Villager piece, and e-mailed the section’s editor, Connie Rosenblum. She replied, “Our regular writers have been told they may not read any of your publications, and they all abide by that.” Sutter was “surprised and confused” by the statement. “Ban your writers from reading certain newspapers? It’s hard to believe.” Believe it. “Hoping to avoid unintentional similarities, the editor of the ‘City’ section asked her reporting staff to avoid reading Community Media publications,” a Times spokesperson said. “The editors do not tell freelancers what to read, nor encourage their staff to read any particular publication (except the Times).”

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