Thursday roundup: Alleged plagiarism at KUNM; a spat over Pulitzers

By Current Staff

Tilda Swinton shared some of her favorite songs on KCRW. (Photo: Lucie Otto-Bruc, Flickr via Creative Commons)

Tilda Swinton shared some of her favorite songs on KCRW. (Photo: Lucie Otto-Bruc, Flickr via Creative Commons)

• Allegations of plagiarism at KUNM-FM in Albuquerque, N.M., have drawn the attention of CPB’s ombudsman, according to the Santa Fe Reporter. Tristan Ahtone, a former health reporter at KUNM, told the newspaper this week that he quit his job after his superiors ignored complaints about plagiarism in the newsroom. Ahtone told the Reporter that he had been raising concerns about plagiarism incidents with his superiors for a year before deciding to leave.

Ahtone also emailed CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan, who has been investigating the complaint and told the Reporter that he planned to issue a report this week.

• The nonprofit Center for Public Integrity won its first Pulitzer prize this week, but its editors found themselves in a spat with ABC News Tuesday over ownership of the award. In a letter to CPI obtained by Poynter, ABC News President Ben Sherwood claimed that the network had contributed equally to the winning story — a multipart investigation into how lawyers and doctors avoid paying benefits claims to victims of black lung disease — by collaborating on the investigation and airing TV segments. Sherwood wanted CPI and its reporter, Chris Hamby, to “share” the Pulitzer.

In a public response, CPI Executive Director Bill Buzenberg disputed Sherwood’s claims that ABC aided substantially with the story’s reporting. “Let’s be honest about the contributions of each party,” Buzenberg wrote. “Chris Hamby lived and breathed this investigation almost exclusively for a year. ABC dropped in periodically over the course of a few months between work on many other stories.” Meanwhile, the winning reporter took a new job at Buzzfeed Tuesday.

• KCRW listeners were treated to a guest DJ Wednesday when actress Tilda Swinton pulled a shift at the Santa Monica, Calif., pubcaster. Swinton kicked off her set with her friend Marilyn Manson’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” and ended her guest appearance with “Beautiful Ride,” performed by fictional singer Dewey Cox. That song appeared in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and was performed by John C. Reilly, her co-star in the movie We Need To Talk About Kevin. You can listen to Swinton’s set here.

• A cherished weekly tradition for NPR listeners is shedding a tear during Morning Edition’s Friday airings of StoryCorps stories. Last week, a StoryCorps entry about a son coming out to his mother was too saucy for the network to handle due to profanity. StoryCorps posted the audio as a web exclusive, with a warning: “This clip features senior citizens dropping ‘f’ bombs.”

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