How many times will The New York Times publish a disreputable reporter's work before it learns its lesson?
Perhaps the third time will be the charm. Alexei Barrionuevo has under come under fire for plagiarism on two separate occasions, but the Times printed a story March 27 ("Salmon Virus Indicts Chile's Fishing Methods") by Barrionuevo anyway, prompting a response from the salmon industry.
Barrionuevo quotes Adolfo Flores in his article, identifying him as Port Director of Castro, Chiloe Island. But in a letter to the Times May 2, Eric McErlain, writing on behalf of Salmon of the Americas Inc (an industry group), pointed out major problems with the report.
"In actuality, Mr. Flores is simply a security guard who works for a third party contractor," McErlain wrote. "I've enclosed an English translation of a letter from Patricio Cuello, the general manager of the Port of Puerto Montt, which administers Castro, confirming this."
Barrionuevo has been overshadowed by plagiarism charges in the past. A February 27 article posted on Slate.com by Jack Shafer showed a Barrionuevo story published on February 23 lifted two lines from an Aug. 12, 2006 Miami Herald story about "paco," an illicit drug with serious effects that's plaguing Argentina.
Shortly after that on March 5, Shafer discovered another instance where Barrionuevo plagiarized.
"A second case of plagiarism by Barrionuevo has come to my attention," Shafer wrote. "On July 15, 2005, Bloomberg News moved a story about the United States lifting ‘mad cow' import restrictions on Canadian cattle. On July 16, 2005, the Times ran a very similar story, also pegged to a conference call with Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns."
Shafer outlined the four times throughout Barrionuevo's story where he echoed a July 15, 2005 Bloomberg News report. Shafer also pointed out the Times position on plagiarism.