Are reporters Allison Sherry and Amanda Terkel the same person?

The two reporters look like different people based on the photos that accompany their stories but this week they seem to have written and published the same story– a story about edits to policy positions made to U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck’s website. Terkel is a bespectacled dark-haired senior reporter for the Huffington Post. Allison Sherry is a red-head politics reporter for the Denver Post. Terkel’s story came out first, on Tuesday, and Sherry’s came out today, Wednesday. There were no links or references to Terkel’s story in the story by Sherry. “We weren’t working together at all, so I’m not sure how her piece came about,” Terkel told the Colorado Independent, referring to Sherry’s piece.

Maybe the two were just working from the same tip. Or maybe we could just close the book now on those claims by traditional media that online media is merely “parasitic.”

Terkel’s lead:

Colorado Republican Ken Buck is a darling of the Tea Party movement, and he has admitted that this constituency was “huge” to his success over establishment candidate Jane Norton in the state’s U.S. Senate primary. In recent months, however, he has changed his website, moderating some of his more controversial policy positions.

She then compares past and current positions on Afghanistan and abortion.

Sherry’s lead:

Edits to GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck’s campaign website show him changing stances on stem-cell research and Afghanistan — something his campaign attributes to a cleaner message but his opponent says shows he is “moderating” earlier positions.

Sherry gets quotes from the Buck campaign. Terkel left messages but didn’t get a call back in time to include any quotes with her piece, which speaks to some facts of the shifting news-media environment: newspapers are still slower to publish, their reporters less pressured to turn around stories quickly, and officials still call those reporters back more readily.

Terkel includes plenty of links and block quotes from the website versions. Sherry’s story, clearly written for the offline edition of the paper, contains not a single link– not to Terkel’s story and not to the Buck website at the center of the story. Apart from the fact that Sherry is reporting about a website, her piece could have been written about Ken Buck’s grandfather for publication in a 1930’s broadsheet.

Note: Buck campaign spokesman Owen Loftus played down the suggestion that the campaign was softening Buck’s stances to appeal to general election voters. He pointed out to the Denver Post that the website edits occurred in the weeks before the primary voting, when Buck was facing hard-right-running Jane Norton.

“It’s ridiculous to say we’re changing our positions. If you’re using that argument, we would have made our positions stronger because at that time we were in the heat of the primary.”

And it’s true that, at least on Afghanistan, Buck had modified (or clarified) his view as early as June, as he made clear during a debate with Norton.

“ I don’t think the terrorists got the message,” Norton said at the time. “We need to double down in Afghanistan.”

Buck said the U.S. needed to exit Afghanistan once the drug trade was diminished and once the region was essentially secure.

“We are foolish if we think we’re going to turn Afghanistan into a western-style democracy,” he said, making reference to the fact that his son, Cody, attends West Point. This is not a mere election topic for him he said. “God bless us if we don’t give our troops an exit strategy to get back home.”

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