Friday, January 21, 2011

Keyboards Have " Keys; Real Journalists Use Them

People who fail to use quotation marks around the words of others are plagiarists. Roger Button fails to put quotation marks around the words of others. Roger Button is a plagiarist.

Button, a business columnist for the Venice Gondolier, writes as if journalism's rules for quoting sources do not apply to him.

Plagiarism is just one of Button's problems. The front-page, copy-desk written headline says "Economist sees recovery in 2011." The story says 2012.

But the rest of the story isn't very accurate, either.

Accuracy: The document Button copies from says Florida's economy is measured at "three-quarters of a trillion dollars." Button rounds that up to $1 trillion -- a $250 million error.

Accuracy: The document Button copies from says 2011 housing starts "will waver between 44,000 and 50,000." Button changes that to "between 40,000 and 50,000."

Accuracy: The report author's title -- according to Button -- is "director of economic competitiveness." Button leaves out the keyword "Institute" and fails to correctly capitalize the organization's proper name.

Transparency: Button quotes the dean of the institution as if there had been an interview. The quote is a direct lift from the report's foreward.

Back to Button's plagiarism: : The highlights in the screen shot are the unattributed sentences and phrases Button culls from the original report and offers up to Gondolier's readers as his own work.

Real journalists know where the quote-mark key is on their keyboards.


  1. Glad you're back, OWW. You missed a few outrages against local journalism over the winter holidays.

  2. I'm just laughing too hard to be able to put together any coherent comment on this.

    Is there a bar within walking distance of this newspaper?

    If there is that must be where the proofreader and editor spend the last seven hours of their shift after finishing layout and proofing in one hour.

    "Bartender, I'll have another shot of Jack," said the proofreader.