The Stockholm Spectator launches with an article that's been gestating there for some time: An exposÈ of the plagiarizing ways of Peter Borgstrˆm, the New York correspondent of Dagens Nyheter (Sweden's NYT). While I think the preamble is superfluous, and the tone too strident, and the "we" a bit misleading on the part of its single author Michael Moynihan in an article about press ethics, the charges certainly do stick, in my opinion.
There are other instances of polyglot expat bloggers ankle-biting major dailies for the wayward ways of their lazy foreign correspondents. Kaleboel, a great blog by a Northern Irishman in Barcelona, has had a long-running and entertaining pitched battle with La Vanguardia over their London-based plagiarist Rafael Ramos, for example. Unlike in the US, however, where a week's campaigning by Andrew Sullivan or Matt Drudge can fell the mightiest, here in Europe editors and ombudsmen still see bloggers as bizarre outsiders to circle wagons against, instead of as useful whistleblowers or canaries in proverbial coalmines.
One response I've heard by jaded media types is that while reprehensible, plagiarism is what foreign correspondents are expected to perform. Borgstrˆm's crime, apparently, is not sufficiently erasing the telltale signs of his writing's provenance. But why can't Dagens Nyheter just translate NYT articles and give them credit? They could save a lot of money by sacking Borgstrˆm. Is the prestige of a local byline so important that it is worth stealing for? That others do it too is not a reason to join them, but to expose them.