New York classical radio fires producer for alleged plagiarism

New York classical radio fires producer for alleged plagiarism


norman lebrecht

October 30, 2015

The New York classical music station WQXR has fired Brian Wise, one of its most industrious and knowledgeable writers.

Brian was accused of plagiarising other writers’ work in 10 instances recorded here. Several of the alleged heists are from the New York Times.

Brian is a well-liked colleague and we will not prejudge the case until more facts are known. On being confronted with the similarities, he offered his resignation. NPR outlets carried the story that he was sacked.

However, if every website writer who stole from Slipped Disc, for instance, were to be fired, that would cause a shutdown of the Classic FM site and the Violin Channel, to name but two of the most flagrant violators.

WQXR itself has lifted some of our exclusives without attribution, and the offender was never Brian Wise, but other staff journalists.

It may be that Brian crossed a line in his use of whole phrases, but it would seem that WQXR have acted with unnecessary severity when a severe warning would have sufficed.

We are sorry to lose Brian Wise.

brian wise

UPDATE: Read Brian’s response here.



  • Nigel says:

    Norman, I can only agree with you. It seems incredibly harsh. Best wishes to Brian (who will be much missed) – and good for him for writing such a straightforward and dignified ‘mea culpa’.

    • Olassus says:

      What I don’t understand is why he didn’t credit the original writer when he liked a certain section, such as the more or less whole paragraph description of the Venezuela orchestra. That unidentified writer quotes Brian Wise, ironically, lower down in his or her article, as we are all trained to do in school.

  • herrera says:

    If classical music composers were held to the same standards as journalists, I think just about everyone would be in trouble (excepting perhaps only Bach and Mozart, of course Bach recycled his own stuff, which is ok).

  • MacroV says:

    I noticed that in one of the examples, the source material appears to be dated AFTER the offending article. Presumably a mi

    I was a little dubious about some of those bits constituting plagiarism, but whole paragraphs are another matter. He should have at least used some synoymns.

  • Jaxon says:

    I am laughing and laughing and laughing at the suggestion that plagiarists should be let off with a warning. That is a dire suggestion, especially coming from a journalist like Norman. Are we to hold music journalism in such low regard? Shameful.