New York Times Has Been Editing Reporters’ Wikipedia Pages For Years

The edits would seem to be a violation of Wikipedia’s “conflict of interest” policy.

People at the New York Times have been making edits to Times’ reporters’ Wikipedia pages for years, a search of the paper’s public IP address in Wikipedia finds. The edits would seem to be a violation of Wikipedia’s “conflict of interest” policy.

Many of the edits seem fairly minor, such as blanking a section on a reporter’s personal life, changing a reporter’s job title, or updating where Gail Collins has taught.

It is unclear if the edits to the pages were done by a public relations professional at the Times, the reporters themselves, or others.

In November 2013, the Times IP address made several edits to reflect the sale of the Boston Globe.

In June of 2013, several edits were made to reporter Nicholas Confessore’s page, changing where he went to high school and removing that he covered Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. A 2007 edit removed that Confessore came in second place in Gawker’s “Love Him For His Body” contest.

An edit in January 2013 added Abbe Ruttenberg Serphos “Executive Director, Corporate Communications” to the “notable alumni” section of the University at Albany.

In one instance, a reporter attempted to ask for edits through the “Talk” page on Wikipedia. Joseph Berger did so in August of last year saying his page was inaccurate.

“Folks: There are a number of inaccuracies in the Wikipedia article about me. I have never written for the New York Daily News. I have been a staff reporter and editor for The New York Times since 1984 and now specialize in New York City metro affairs. I was a religion correspondent, not editor, served as deputy education editor, not the editor, and worked only temporarily as an assistant Metro editor. I repored several time from Jerusalem but was never its fulltime correspondent. Please correct these errors. Joseph Berge”

An edit in September 2010 added a business editor, Timothy L. O’Brien (who is now at the Bloomberg), to the notable alumni section of Columbia University.

An edit in November 2011 added Times editor Jennifer Jenkins to notable alumni section of Palm Bay High School.

An edit in March 2008 added then-Times reporter Trymaine Lee to the list of notable alumni of Rowan University.

A search of the Times edits on its “user contribution” page show among the edits, 17 edits to former columnist Clyde Haberman’s page, seven edits to photojournalist Tyler Hick’s page, six edits to columnist Jim Dwyer’s, three edits to reporter Jodi Kantor’s page, 13 edits to the “list of The New York Times employees” page, four edits to columnist Mark Bittman’s page, two edits updating the number of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to Times reporters, and three edits to L.A. Bureau Chief Adam Nagourney’s page, among an array of other edits to Times reporters and edits to other subjects.

Edits from the Times IP also added information to the pages of journalists from other organizations.

An edit from the New York Times IP address in March 2008 added a section saying photos of now-MSNBC host Thomas Roberts “allegedly posted of himself on the gay cruising site Manhunt.net made the rounds on the Internet.”

The IP address 170.149.100.10 is listed as “The New York Times Company.”

A New York Times spokeswoman asked if BuzzFeed had questions about specific edits and then did not return a request for comment.

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