New York Times: Consult a Librarian

UPDATE: Yesterday, on October 31, 2011, Mr. Goodman from the New York Times contacted me for some clarifications. I can’ t be certain whether he contacted me because of this entry or not, but it is clear there are always people who keep track of where they are popping up in the blogosphere. Maybe Mr. Goodman is one such a person!

On Friday I got a little bit of a surprise, however it was a pleasant one. As many of you who read my blog, you are aware that it appears on a site called Ukraine Business Online, however, on Friday I was told that somehow some of my earlier commentary made it as far as the New York Times, well at least a blog on the NYT website. However pleasant it was I do have a few point I would like to make to media owners, your writers have to get their facts straight!

It was a pleasant surprise when I read some of the words of NYT writer J. David Goodman when he wrote on his blog “For William Pawlowsky, a Ukranian former journalist living in Canada, the plagiarism charges were not surprising. “Does anyone honestly think that Ukraine’s incumbent president is capable of putting pen to paper, and actually writing? Let alone an entire book?”

This piece was in regard to President Yanukovych’s “book” entitled “Opportunity Ukraine” Which as if you are unaware, also appeared on Ukraine Business Online to which he refers.

While Mr. Goodman or his spell checker can’t spell “Ukrainian” he also somehow didn’t quite present me correctly. I am not a Ukrainian citizen but a Canadian who lived many years in Ukraine there is a difference. Though my understanding of Ukraine is much better than any average Canadian, American or Brit, and probably most of those who work in their analytical departments of their respective foreign ministries. But that is his problem and not not mine, I know who I am and what I stand for. As a professional, I consider that he consult the information specialists and librarians that work at the NYT, as opposed to trying to interpret my public profile on LinkedIn. While I have a public profile, I also have been involved professionally in my field for many years. Too many journalists, public writers and many others are still very illiterate when it comes to doing online research or even paying attention to minute details. Their problem is that they are too full of themselves, and what they think that can do, because they really have no understanding of information.

For my piece to draw his attention is a pleasure. The fact that so many of my colleagues in Ukraine considered me a journalist while I am by training an information specialist/librarian is also something that was always pleasure and somewhat of an honour, given what conditions many had to work under. However, the getting facts right and spelling right clearly shows to me that while the NYT is a great paper, its standards are slipping.

I suggest that all management of major news outlets use their library staff appropriately. You folks out there that think you can research you are gravely mistaken! And until you start doing things right and respect fellow professionals in other professions, you will make both misleading and incorrect mistakes.

Vasyl Pawlowsky Independent Consultant
B.A.; M.A.; M.L.I.S.