Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shaving Mirror Journalism

Mike Billington, nominal publisher of one of Sun Media Group's regional editions, contributes another 800 words to a genre inspired by what a writer sees each morning in the shaving mirror. The genre is particularly beloved among journalists slouching toward retirement and wouldn't be worth mentioning except that Billington's navel gazing upstages a genuine, if minor, event.

Billington launches his 20-inch contribution to the news hole by announcing the title of his not-yet-written autobiography.* He lists states he has lived in, tallies houses and apartments he has occupied, details reasons and motives for moves made, and classifies abodes as rented or owned.

It's only at the end of the second leg of type that a persistent reader encounters the news. A nice real estate lady is having an open-house tour next weekend. OWW wonders if the organizer is as enamored as Billington is with his extensive change-of-address history. Her message is interred under the sod of this self-proclaimed gypsy's nostalgia.

*A Google search of "No Fixed Address" takes 0.09 seconds to return 133,000 prior usages of his inspired title.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Diabetes Columnist Plagiarizes ADA Website

Joe Valley, Sun Media Group's diabetes writer, runs a column today that's a simple reproduction of American Diabetes Association's Internet page on foot problems. The only difference is that the version in the Charlotte Sun newspaper carries Joe Valley's picture -- clearly intended to suggest to readers that he wrote the material.

At the end of the article, Joe Valley refers interested readers not to ADA or another reliable source, but to his own website. The website is anchored with Google ads ("The Diabetes Lies"), and the front page says Joe would "love to here from others..." and wants "hints" and "idea's" to improve his site.

Old Word Wolf recommends several improvements: Stop plagiarizing. Learn to attribute. Write your own stuff -- and then get a proofreader.

The newspaper column makes no reference to any credentials that the writer might have, much less any reference to the source he plagiarized. Judging by his column photo, he's just another pretty face for Sun Media Group's lineup of writers who get paid to copy the internet.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Plagiarizing Preacher Steals Website Words

Brett Jones is the newest person to join the Sun Media Group's growing roster of plagiarizing preachers. To honor the tradition of stealing words and dishing them up one's own, Venice Gondolier editors might consider naming the Saturday section "Plagiarism."

It is likely that Pastor Brett Jones knows quite well what attribution is. Like most in his business, he probably attributes whenever he quotes his particular holy book, noting that his words and ideas came from a particular chapter and verse. But for some reason, Pastor Brett Jones thinks it's OK to write from the Internet without attribution.

A phrase search quickly shows that Brett Jones didn't write his news announcement; he copied it word for word without a quotation mark or one word of attribtion from a news release or website of some sort. After plagiarizing, he sent the document to Gondolier editors as his own work.

About that byline -- make it "Pastor Brett Jones, Guest Plagiarist."