UPDATE 2: The Spectator has posted an updated Editor’s note, and has verified “that at least three paragraphs were largely identical to those in the New York Times piece.” The writer’s other work is now also being investigated by the paper.
UPDATE: The Spectator has removed the story in question. Click through at the bottom of this post to see the original article.
Columbia’s recent acquisition of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s archives is a huge score for the university, and any art-aware student should be very excited. In fact, the arts writers at The Columbia Spectator were so excited, they seem to have gone right out and copied The New York Times. Uh oh!
Some of you may know Columbia best as the former home of noted poet plagiarist Jonah Lehrer, and his legacy seems to be alive and well. A tipster alerted us to some, let’s say, similarities in The Spectator’s and The New York Times’ opening paragraphs covering the archive’s move.
Here’s the lede from The Spectator’s story on the acquisition, published September 5th:
“Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for saving everything, from his personal correspondence to scribbles on Plaza Hotel napkins. Since Wright’s death in 1959, these relics have been locked in storage.”
Now, here’s the lede from the New York Times article covering the same news, published two days earlier (bolding ours):
“The Modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t a hoarder. But he did save just about everything — whether a doodle on a Plaza Hotel cocktail napkin of an imagined city on Ellis Island, his earliest pencil sketch of the spiraling Guggenheim Museum or a model of Broadacre City, his utopian metropolis. Since Wright’s death in 1959 those relics have been locked in storage at his former headquarters —Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wis., and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Ariz.”
And, just for reference, here’s the official press release. Not a mention of a Plaza Hotel napkin in the whole thing…