Wednesday, October 24, 2007


ETA: It is the opinion of the Editor of the newspaper in question that there is no plagerism involved. Said editor stands behind his employee and had the following words to say:

Just as I want to vigorously ensure our integrity and cast out staffers who
would destroy it, you need to know I will fight to protect the good name of this
news organization and its staffers who are ethically practicing their craft. To
falsely accuse a staffer of plagiarism would be an outright act of libel, and
could destroy that individual's good name and reputation. While bloggers share
the same First Amendment rights to express their opinions that professional
journalists enjoy, they also can be sued when they defame others by making false
accusations. You should keep this in mind as you take your case before your
readers. Be forewarned: If you falsely attack this organization or one of its
staffers, you should expect a vigorous and very serious response. I don't
believe you have malicious intent, but rather have innocently made some
incorrect assumptions. When we get something wrong, we correct our mistakes, in
print and on the web. Unless you have some other evidence of plagiarism that you
haven't shared, I think retracting this on your blog would be an appropriate
step to take at this time.

Let this stand as my concession that the editor of the un-named newspaper believes his un-named reporter to be innocent of any plagerism or unprofessional behavior. I accept his judgement and any similarities are to be viewed as purely coincidental between myself and the un-named reporter and the un-named newspaper. I am editing out the comments wherein readers linked to this reporters works despite the fact that I am in no way responsible for the comments of my readers nor their own notice of uncanny similarities.


Poodles said...

Does this mean you're famous now? Should we worry about paparazzi?

The person can't really consider themselves a journalist.

Ed The Frog said...

Oh, really embarrass her! Link to her article on the web so everyone can see it!

AmberKatt said...

If it's that blatant, contact her editor. What she is doing is plagiarism, and that is... um... "strongly discouraged" in news organizations.

Matthew said...

Well golly, from what little I know about Pmomma's location and such I think I was able to locate said journalist rather quickly. Since Pmomma didn't post the name neither will I. Especially since I'm not sure. But I did find a fire rant and a Vegas rant.

Kilted_Dad said...

That took all of 2 seconds and Live Search to figure out who Pmomma's talking about.

Perhaps this person feels that blogging her column has a lower standard than her written column. I dunno. Go get her PMomma!

Nicholas said...


TonyInBatavia said...

Hey P-Momma,

Far be it for me to provide a different take, considering those aren't my thoughts she's borrowing, but I've got a slightly different take...

If the author is who I think it is (based on some Googling and follow-up reading), flattery's not bad compensation, considering that she appears to be amplifying upon your thoughts and giving them a mainstream audience. While you can give full-throat and passion on your blog without having to make nice and temper your thoughts for palatable newspaper-reader consumption, she seems to be taking them to that level. And here's the thing: Her heart appears to be where your heart is. I myself would be pissed if she was taking your thoughts almost verbatim without giving you credit, then slamming them. Instead, she appears to be borrowing your sentiments (without giving you credit, unfortunately), but then she's adding to them (e.g., she actually talked to Vegas). If anything, for those columns with similar topics as yours -- and she does appear to write a lot of columns that *aren't* similar to your entries -- it appears as though she's "inspired by" you as opposed to ripping you off verbatim. The positive, from my perspective at least, is that these sentiments are being broadcast to a mainstream audience, which is always one in the win column.

Having said all of the above: If I'm right and it's simple inspiration (as opposed to outright plagiarism), I do wish she would have at least dropped you an e-mail at some point to give you props and to say that she appreciates being inspired by your blog. I would bet that would go a long way to offset your current concerns.

ShadesOfGrey said...

I think copyright laws apply to blog entries. Plagiarism is not just rude, it's illegal. Amberkatt's suggestion to contact that person's editor is a good one.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Tony - you're right. If she's "inspired" by my writing, a "wow...I really like your approach to this, mind if I expand upon it?" would be enough to placate me. But, the blatant "borrowing" of my techniques and ideas... well, it's just annoying as hell. I just love when family and friends read her stuff and then go, "Didn't I read that in your blog?"

Shadesofgrey, I contacted the editor.

pussreboots said...

Contact this person's editor. Newspapers don't like plagiarism. It ruins their credibility. You should also out whomever you think is doing this.

Atheist in a mini van. said...

If I publicly out them and someone decides it's not plagerism, then wouldn't it be slander?

Chakolate said...

Why are you protecting this person with anonymity? Does she deserve that?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Why are you protecting this person with anonymity? Does she deserve that?

Honestly, the only reason I'm not pointing everyone to her is because I'm not sure if it would be slander? I mean, if she claimed that, despite all evidence to the contrary, she was NOT pulling ideas and methods from my words, then...could she come back and sue me for accusing her publicly? She makes her living doing this. An accusation of plagerism could effect her career. No? So, until someone can tell me it's okay, I'm a bit hesitant.

Russ said...

So, PMomma, don't make the accusation of plagiarism; simply note how similar are your thoughts to those of a respected journalist. A factual point by point comparison is not an indictment, nor is it libelous.

If you were to draw parallels between said journalist's work and that of, say, Christopher Hitchens, Saul Bellow, or Margaret Atwood, that would constitute literary criticism not libel.

Remember you could always let us, your beloved minions, make the claims of impropriety if we see it. Realize, too, that if there are improbable similarities in structure and/or content, between your writing and hers, you could be doing the paper a fine favor by telling them about it.

Atheist in a mini van. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginny said...

What did the editor have to say after you contacted he/she?

ShadesOfGrey said...

"She's also taken certian comments left by people in various posts here and used them almost word-for-word in her articles."

Definitely more proof for your suspicions.

TonyInBatavia said...

I really hope the editor was duly alarmed -- as opposed to knee-jerk defensive -- and with all due diligence investigated what was happening here and concluded without a doubt that there's was nothing hanky going on. Assuming that happened, I celebrate that there's another independent voice who's sharing reason, logic, and fine perspective with readers. It's a remarkable coincidence, sure, but the shared sentiments are welcome.

(And P-Momma, if commenting at this point is uncool or puts you in a precarious situation, lemme know and I'll be glad to delete this message.)