The Atlantic Stole My Work
On his personal site, freelancer Dean Sterling Jones, accuses The Atlantic of stealing his work and denying him credit and compensation for the work. Jones said in his post that Atlantic editors have declined to give him credit in spite of “whole sentences and paragraphs from a freelance pitch” he sent to Natasha Bertrand.
Personally, I’m a little confused by the word “stealing.” He sent her the story and the research. He was subsequently credited in the story and linked.
The story was published later that day without my byline, although the Atlantic did eventually agree to credit me within the text of the article (albeit reluctantly and without offering an apology or an explanation for axing me from the story). I didn’t realise my work had been lifted until October 2020, when I was inspired to reinvestigate by the Atlantic magazine’s 800-word correction — and subsequent retraction — of a story by freelance journalist/serial fabricator Ruth Shalit Barrett.
As I told Bertrand in an email, the Atlantic’s refusal to add my byline to the story hurts both of us. I lost out on a writing credit and freelance fee; as a result, her name now sits atop an article that contains copied material.
Being a freelance journalist has its ups and downs, but getting stomped on by a big publication like the Atlantic deserves to be called out, hence this item.
Maybe next time don’t send a fully researched story to a publication without getting a proper contract from an actual editor?