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More Denver Post Attribution Issues Surface

Editor’s Note: One day after this post, The Denver Post published a correction acknowledging that State Bill Colorado broke the Masters campaign-contribution story. This post has been updated to reflect this development.


Two more incidents have surfaced involving The Denver Post not immediately attributing stories broken first by other news media. One involves this publication.

Today’s printed Post carries a front-page story about a wrongly convicted one-time murder suspect, Tim Masters, giving $2,000 in campaign contributions to an effort to oust two current judges who, then prosecutors, brought the case against him. The story was published earlier in the week on both State Bill Colorado and Law Week Colorado, a Denver-based newspaper for lawyers. Circuit Media LLC operates both publications.

But neither The Post’s printed nor online stories initially credited either publication. The Post has since revised its online story to credit State Bill Colorado; the print edition 24 hours later clarified the story’s source. As of 2 p.m. Friday, the Masters story was the third-most clicked daily story among The Post’s Colorado readers.

Post reporter Monte Whaley wrote today’s Masters story after seeing a report on the Fort Collins Coloradoan website, a Post editor said by e-mail Friday. That Coloradoan story gave story credit to Law Week; the Circuit Media publications first reported the news Wednesday.

The second incident occurred earlier this month and was reported by The Colorado Independent.

It concerned similar stories written by Huffington Post reporter Amanda Terkel and, one day later, Post reporter Allison Sherry. The stories centered on U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck’s apparent moderation of some controversial political positions.

Terkel, reached today by State Bill Colorado, didn’t know whether her story served as Sherry’s inspiration or whether Sherry had been working on the story independently. She also has not spoken to Sherry. Generally speaking, Terkel said, “I think it’s a good journalism practice if you get a story idea from another source to give them a courtesy hat tip or credit; if you’re working independently, you don’t need to.”

The blogosphere, Terkel added, “is good at giving hat tips.”

E-mails returned by The Post didn’t address questions related to the stories by Sherry and Terkel.

Last week, The Post modified a Penny Parker column about the sale of former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan to acknowledge that the news broke originally on the real-estate website But The Post declined to give credit to a blogger who broke a story about the Colorado Republican Party potentially losing its majority-party status in the November elections. A Post editor said the reporter didn’t rely on the blogger’s story for her report.

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