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Reuters’s Curious Sourcing on Doug Field Joining Project Titan

I don’t break a lot of news — it’s just not what Daring Fireball is about, or what I’m interested in. But, once in a while, I get my hands on a scoop, like last night’s piece about former Tesla engineering head Doug Field returning to Apple to work with Bob Mansfield in the Titan group. The news was quickly picked up by dozens of other outlets, almost all of whom graciously credited me (or just “Daring Fireball”, which is fine) with (a) breaking the news that Field was back at Apple, and (b) the specific news that Field is working with Mansfield in the Titan group. Apple confirmed to me only that Field was back at Apple. That Field has joined Titan — though unsurprising given his experience working with Mansfield and at Tesla — came from my own unnamed sources.

This Reuters story by Stephen Nellis, however, presents itself as original reporting:

Doug Field, who stepped down as the senior vice president of engineering at Telsa Inc last month, is returning to Apple Inc, Apple told Reuters on Thursday.

Field will be working with Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who has been heading up Apple’s self-driving car program, Project Titan. Field and Mansfield previously worked together on engineering Apple’s line of Mac computers.

My piece was published at 11:13p EDT; Nellis’s Reuters story was published 12:39a. Note too that the “Apple told Reuters on Thursday” attribution is only in the first paragraph. There is no attribution for the information in the second paragraph. Apple would not confirm that to me, just two hours prior, and though it’s certainly possible that Nellis had his own independent sources for that information — hundreds of employees within Apple were aware of Field’s return — there is no “according to sources familiar with the situation” attribution.

Also, Field’s previous employer was Tesla, not Telsa.

Update: The second paragraph of Nellis’s story now reads:

Field will be working with Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who has been heading up Apple’s self-driving car program, Project Titan, according to Daring Fireball, a technology news website that earlier reported Field’s move.

There’s always an update when I point these things out, but I genuinely thank Reuters and Nellis for fixing this.