I’m hoping it’s either serendipity or perhaps a subconsious riff on the deisgn similarities manifest within book covers, but it looks like the New York Times may have ripped off Nathalie Chicha. Not only did Andrew Adam Newman use the same examples that Nathalie used, but he quoted the blog Foreword, quite literally jonesing Foreword’s proprietor for examples rather than doing the legwork himself. (That would involve going to a bookstore and using a pair of eyes.)
It can be argued that a good journalist essentially collects information and assembles it. But the real question I have to ask is why Newman didn’t at least consult Nathalie in the course of writing his article, particularly when she was the one who ferreted out the issue in the first place and when a link to her visual examples was featured in the comments section at Foreword. Newman could have included a simple sentence along the lines of “Nathalie Chicha, editor of the blog Galleycat, has collected several interpretive examples of what these covers might mean.”
I would suggest that tracking the original source of an association is what a paid journalist should be expected to do. It’s decent and ethical and it also allows you to swap information with the enthused experts. Everybody wins.
(While I am not paid to blog here, I do go out of my way to attribute the original source, if I have found an item from somebody else — because it’s just possible that for anyone interested in the topic, there may be a debate or an additional debate or possibly a fantastic rabbit hole to head down.)
Most bloggers do this. It’s not entirely perfect, given that we’re posting entries on the fly, but it is possible to track linkage. However, if this is a case where bloggers are doing a better job of accrediting a source than Andrew Adam Newman, the real question is why the Times didn’t hire Nathalie Chicha to write the piece. She had the knowledge, she had the curiosity, and if a bit of cash and a shrewd and encouraging editor had been thrown her way, I’m convinced she would have dug up the reasoning behind the design similarities.