Monday, October 17, 2011

The Case of Anne Covey and the Disappearing Co-Author

Anne Covey, the Republican candidate for state Commonwealth Court, often mentions the book she wrote on employment law, The Workplace Law Advisor:  From Harassment and Discrimination Politics to Hiring and Firing Guidelines -- What Every Manager and Employee Needs to Know (2000).  The book has been well-reviewed.  I went to Amazon to see if it was still in print and was really surprised to see a co-author listed, Stephanie Narvell.  On Covey's work website, her campaign website, her bar association questionnaire, a 2000 CNN interview, and the PCN interview with her that I watched she mentions the book but never her co-author.  According to Amazon only Covey's name is on the cover, and the "look inside" feature shows that Covey alone holds the copyright.  There is a Stephanie Narvell in the area who is a specialist in human relations management but I'm not sure it's the same woman. 

It seems odd to me that Narvell is listed as a co-author on Amazon and several other online booksellers but not on the book itself.  Certainly writers often have help of varying degrees and this is often acknowledged either on the title page or in the introduction.  I don't have access to the full book so it is possible she does mention Narvell within the book.  Perhaps Narvell wrote or contributed to one of the chapters.  

Covey also often mentions the article she wrote in the Widener Law Journal on the history of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.  This also is mentioned on her firm's website, campaign website, the bar association questionnaire, and PCN interview.  I looked up the full citation and was surprised to see that not only did Ms. Covey have a co-author on this article as well but that she is listed second.  Looking again at her campaign site she has a digital version of the journal title page and it does list two authors but, at least on my laptop screen, it is difficult to read.  ("Contribution of the Commonwealth Court to public employee labor law:  The first forty years," by James L. Crawford and Anne E. Covey, Widener Law Journal 20 (2010-2011): 143-172).  The decision on which author's name goes first depends on a number of things.  Some people follow the standard practice of their discipline -- in some the primary author goes first, some go alphabetically, some flip a coin, it all depends.

The other two publications listed on her firm's website are co-authored with the other lawyer at her firm and that is acknowledged.   She lists one of those on her bar association questionnaire and on her campaign site but does not acknowledge a co-author on either. 

She lists two other articles on her bar association questionnaire.  One is from the National Law Journal, entitled "Whistle-blower protection acts broaden rights to employees."  I can't find the full text of this article but it listed in Google Scholar in the citations of other articles, as Cooper & Covey, which means here also she is the second author.  I can't find out anything about the other article, from the New Jersey Law Review, "How the blizzard of 1996 affected employee compensation."  

It may be common practice in law for those who publish not to acknowledge co-authors.  I'm not a lawyer and so cannot say.  Celebrities who write books with the assistance of others often don't mention that in interviews.  Politicians who write books with the assistance of others often don't mention that in  interviews.  I like to write (go figure).  I've written some things on my own and some with others.  It takes conscious effort to remember to differentiate between saying "I wrote" and "I co-wrote" or to say "my co-author on that ..."  Sometimes forms will leave space for co-authors and sometimes they don't. 

So there are all sorts of reasons why someone would not mention co-authors.  I just noticed this pattern.


Anonymous said...

Keep searching for another red herring to trick your readers into making the selection you want them to make on election day in this race. The basic fact is simple - Anne Covey is far more qualified for the seat than Kathryn Boockvar is and you know it!

Besides, who else is going to fight on behalf of rapists, murderers and others who Ms. Boockvar believes should be allowed to vote. Talk about political.

AboveAvgJane said...

I think my readers are smart enough to make informed choices, and assume that anyone interested enough in politics to show up here has probably read extensively on the candidates. Note that a number of information resources, including Ms. Covey's campaign website, are linked within the blog post. That would allow those wanting more data to easily find it.

AboveAvgJane said...

Someone left a comment providing further information on Ms. Narvell, suggesting I contact her directly, and including a link to that information.

I didn't let the comment through because of the link. Certainly it is easy enough to find and doesn't provide direct contact info but it wasn't something I wanted to have posted here.

As to why I didn't contact her to ask her about it, this is a hobby blog. For that level of reporting you need someone who can devote more time to it than I can. Reporters, journalists, and the like.