Departing Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen has blasted Fairfax for questioning his paper’s editorial standards and “stealing” his paper’s Alan Jones scoop over the weekend.

Bitter Tele rival The Sydney Morning Herald today ran an editorial calling the behaviour of Jonathan Marshall, the Tele reporter who broke the story after attending a Sydney University Liberal Club dinner, “borderline ethical, at best”.

Marshall applied to attend the $100-a-head event from his personal email and did not identify himself as a journalist on the night. The SMH also published a piece by Damien Murphy raking over Marshall’s colourful past as a journalist in New Zealand.

“I find it extraordinary that the Herald would question the ethics of the Tele when they stole our story on Saturday night for their second edition, promoted it as if they had found it out and didn’t make any mention of where the story had come from,” a furious Breen told Crikey this morning.

News Limited legal counsel Jane Summerhayes has sent Fairfax a breach of copyright letter over Heath Aston’s Sun Herald story on Jones’ controversial comments.

The Sun Herald are repeat offenders when it comes to stealing stories,” Breen said.

Rewriting a rival’s story for a second edition is, of course, a grand newspaper tradition.

Breen, who will depart the paper in October, says Marshall had attended the event as part of an investigation into student politics rather than to catch out Alan Jones.

“It was not a private dinner. He was entitled to go to that dinner and listen to what was said and report on it,” he said.

As for his post-Tele future, Breen would only say: “It will definitely be in TV.”

Crikey has asked for comment from The Sun Herald and will add if received.

Peter Fray

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