Tips for Making a Successful Career Comeback

How to Recapture Professional Success Following a Career Setback

3. Start a Public Dialogue ASAP

As far as I can tell, Lehrer's book sales haven't suffered; his editor at the New Yorker told Jim Romenesko Jonah's not suspended; and his agent at the Lavin agency which books his speaking gigs shrugged off the controversy over their client. 

What he's lost in easily perceivable measure is the respect of the journalistic community, which not only strongly condemns any type of ethical violations, it takes them personally. And while it really isn't plagiarism he's guilty of, the perception he appeared to habitually and deceptively coast on warmed-up fare, no less at a magazine for which any serious writer would kill -- but never plagiarize -- to work, has him in the crosshairs of journalists from London to Los Angeles.

Lehrer now needs to balance the collective bile by engaging his peers in active dialogue, discussing challenges and pressures of the job, getting and giving perspective and even helping others avoid succumbing to the temptations of shortcuts under deadline pressure. It's his best chance at quieting -- though probably not silencing -- the noise. Conversely, an ostrich-policy of head-in-sand and avoidance will give his critics clear shots and ongoing reason to sneer and snicker, continuing to flood the blogosphere with commentary that'll keep the doubts alive and a once rising star in suspension.