Great Excuses in Journalism, Part CXVII

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Music writer Ramiro Burr, who for years has written columns and stories for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle, has resigned.

Express-News editor Robert Rivard says Burr “caused [the paper] to unknowingly publish work under his name that was not, in fact, his own work.”

A writer Burr used has hired a lawyer seeking byline credit for stories he worked on.

On his blog, Burr says he resigned as a way of “taking things to the next level,” which apparently means the Web. He says he had “editorial differences” with the Express-News over crediting other writers who worked for him.

"I may have been a little overzealous, or overreached in trying to be the best reporter columnist I could be,” he said.

What’s funny, though, is the Chronicle’s reaction to all this. They too received a letter from the disgruntled writer’s lawyer.

But everything’s peachy-keen as far as the Chron is concerned: “Burr wrote the articles for the Chronicle under an independent contractor agreement that gave him the right to hire employees or contract with others to fulfill his obligations,” the Chron story on Burr said, without attributing the legal expertise to anyone.

So if you’re a freelancer for the Chron, it apparently doesn’t matter if you do your own work or not.

In other words, nothing to see hear, folks, move along. Our inadequately credited stories are nothing like the inadequately credited stories over in San Antonio. – Richard Connelly

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