Scandal rocked the media world this afternoon when Guardian economics editor Heidi Moore claimed an email newsletter called “Today in Tabs” — which is syndicated by Newsweek — was actually her idea.
On Twitter, Moore said that the idea for an “Open Tabs” feature, offered months ago in one of her more than 130,000 tweets, was “promptly stolen” by the newsletter’s author, Rusty Foster.
Moore repeatedly cited this tweet from September 2013 as evidence:
It appears the dust-up started when the Nieman Journalism Lab ran a lengthy story about Today in Tabs, “an email newsletter powered by TinyLetter and republished daily by Newsweek that tells you exactly what to hate.”
In Today in Tabs, author Rusty Foster offers a pithy take on that day’s “tabs” — links and articles disseminated on Twitter that you couldn’t help but click on but that ultimately must be closed. Hate-reads, essentially.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Foster responded to Moore’s tweet claiming the idea was originally hers.
Moore directed him to that September tweet. Foster responded that he hadn’t seen the tweet in question, nor had he seen another tab-related Tumblr that Moore claimed also ripped off her idea. (If you look at the chain in question from September, Moore was pretty adamant that no one should steal her idea for the Guardian’s blog).
“I find that hard to believe. Knock it off,” she tweeted. “I’m writing to Jim [Impoco, Newsweek Editor-in-Chief].”
Moore added that the idea was “publicly identified as a Guardian work in progress” and that Foster, and presumably Newsweek by extension, should “link to the origin of it.”
Moore declined to comment.
So was Moore’s tweet the inspiration for Today in Tabs?
“Nope,” said Foster.
“I don’t follow her. I actually blocked her a long time ago,” Foster said, though they did converse here. “Not because I followed her but people were retweeting her into my feed.”
“I kind of don’t even want to say it,” Foster added. “Talking about blocking people on Twitter is the worst.”
Foster said he was kind of confused by the whole thing.
“It took me a while to figure out what she was even saying,” he said. “I don’t really even know what we’re talking about.”
Today was the 75th Today in Tabs.
“I’ve been writing for four months,” said Foster, who added a joke about the whole thing in this afternoon’s newsletter. “I guess people can decide.”
“I just think it’s bizarre,” said Katie J.M. Baker, the reporter at Newsweek who first suggested her publication syndicate Today in Tabs, adding that, as of this writing, nobody at Newsweek had really noticed Moore’s Twitter attacks.