Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Businews" Writer Roger Button Plagiarizes News Release, Makes Up Other Stuff

The long-standing business columnist at the Venice Gondolier put his byline on a news release earlier this week -- a word-for-word copy of substantial paragraphs that appear on an advertising company's website -- and then ran it on the newspaper's Wednesday business page under a headline and byline that were clearly intended to represent the purloined work as his own.  And, the part that the ethically challenged "newsman" didn't plagiarize appears to be a fiction that he created without source or substance.

Roger Button, who has been writing for the Sun Coast Media Group paper for decades, joins a long list of that publishing group's plagiarists -- reporters, editors and contributors who tell themselves it's OK to copy what others have written, omit standard acknowledgement in the form of quotation marks and attribution, and then pass the mess along to readers as their own work.

copied from the company news release:

We build marketing campaigns that connect with consumers and generate out of this world attention for businesses. If you have a company or know someone that has one, spread the word .... we're game changers. CLICK HERE to see how we can make a big impact.
We're looking for houses to paint. In fact, paint is an understatement. We're looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we'll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted. 
Here are a few things we're looking for. You must own your home. It cannot be rented or leased. We'll paint the entire outside of the house, minus the roof, the windows and any awnings. Painting will take approximately 3 - 5 days. Your house must remain painted for at least one month and may be extended up to a year. If, for any reason, you decide to cancel after one month or if we cancel the agreement with you, we'll repaint your house back to the original colors.
If you're prepared to splash ads on your home just submit the application form below. You can post home photos on our Facebook page. We review every application. If your home has the 'it' factor a team member will reach out to you.
The only part of the article that didn't come from the news release or website is Button's unsubstantiated claim that the advertising tactic is creating "headaches" for "local governments."  Button does not identify which local governments he is referring to.  Neither does he verify the headache he reports.  In addition to plagiarism, Button seems comfortable with fiction -- making stuff up.  


  1. Not a nice newsman.

  2. No quotes, perhaps just written from a website or two. No research to find out if municipal code in Sarasota County would allow this. No phone call to get a quote from a local marketing company and the unattributed "Apparently the idea ..." paragraph.
    There's also apparently a Florida angle as an April 12 Huffington Post story, "New Advertising Company Will Turn Your House Into a Billboard" had this, ""I'm a single mom, and I could certainly use the money," Kimberly Rae, of Largo Fla., told Bay News 9 after entering the contest."
    This around 300 word piece would take less than 1/2 hour to write the way it was published, if that.
    And what does this say about the editor who approved this story?