The New York Times' sweeping account of the Deepwater Horizon's final hours may be compelling storytelling, but it is not news, claims AP oil spill reporter Harry Weber. Though the Times story claims to be an account built from new disclosures that "make it possible to finally piece together the Horizon’s last hours," it's just a rehash of facts published by the AP six months ago, Weber writes. And its publication "six days before" year's end makes it seem the Times wants "to have the last word on the oil spill, perhaps as a nod to the Pulitzer board."
"A dozen different AP staffers as early as May have done numerous spot, enterprise and investigative reconstruct pieces on every element in the Times story," Weber writes in an email reprinted on Romanesko, noting that the piece's supposedly new pictures are similarly old news. The Times' alleged credit-grab may be unfair, but it also is a new instance of an old issue, notes Chris Rovzar for New York: "The Times does long-form reporting better than any wire service has the opportunity to do. But the wire-service reporters toil day to day to bring you breaking stories you often don't even realize come from them."