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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Explore New England Blogger Fired for Plagairism ...er, Plagiarism

This morning I discovered that Burlington resident Matt Mahoney of the ExploreNewEngland Vermont Blog was stealing content from Seven Days and posting it as his own. I just got off the phone with Ron Agrella, Features Content Manager for Boston.com, who apologized for Mahoney's behavior. "As of a few minutes ago, he no longer works for us," said Agrella.

Mahoney was one of six bloggers who contribute to state-specific sites affiliated with ExploreNewEngland.com, an online media venture owned by the Boston Globe and the New York Times. "We use non-journalists for our bloggers," explained Agrella.

Agrella said that all of ExploreNewEngland's bloggers are independent contractors, who are expected to understand that plagairism plagiarism is unacceptable. He said that the bloggers are supposed to scan the web and the news for interesting events, then blog about them, citing sources when appropriate.

Agrella was "surprised" to hear of Mahoney's actions — we found at least five instances in which Mahoney had reprinted images and text from our paper verbatim on his blog without citing us as the source. When he spoke to Mahoney to terminate his contract, Mahoney revealed that there were other posts of this nature on his blog. As a result, the company has removed all of the posts. If you click on the site now, you'll find a message saying that ExploreNewEngland has discontinued the blog until further notice. There is no mention of Mahoney's plagairism plagiarism on the site.

It's worth mentioning that we don't object to bloggers using our content; we love it! Just cite us as the source. Passing off someone else's work as your own is dishonest and unethical. It undermines readers' trust, and that's bad for all of us.

UPDATE; The blog has been taken down, but calendar writer Meghan Dewald, who wrote the material in question, tracked down the Google cache and archived it at Ma.gnolia here. The stuff from Seven Days includes posts about the Peking Acrobats, Moulin Rouge, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Bird's Eye viewing, and the Men at Work tap dancing troupe.

UPDATE II: My esteemed editor Pamela Polston points out that I've misspelled "plagiarism." Ha! Oh, the hazards of the blogosphere. My apologies.

March 15, 2006 at 02:21 PM in VT Blogs | Permalink


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In my opinion it is not enough for him to be fired, 7Days should sue both him and the Boston Globe/NYT over this.

This will be the only way to attempt to hold both him and the media giants accountable, not only for the blogger's transgressions, but for the lack of oversight and editorial control over what is clearly a commercial blog seeking to generate both visitors to their site as well as income using material found elsewhere on the Web and not be very careful about attributing such and linking the original source (as well as where it was found, if different: i.e., if found posted on a different blog or Website).

In this case, it is not enough for them to simply fire the blogger and dump all the posts on the blog; if anything, they have merely managed to take down the evidence of the offence, protecting themselves. This does nothing to truly remedy the situation or to prevent others to continue doing the same.

If 7Days were to take them to court over this, it would help to send a message that such acts will not go unaddressed.

Yes, the blogger has been fired and his name is now mud within the Vermont blogosphere, however he can simply move on elsewhere and eventually it will be forgotten; unless something more is done about it.

The fact is he got paid and the Boston Globe/NYT or whoever paid him for it, they he and they made money from the venture. The only way to make sure it either does not happen again so easily or, that if it does, people will know they will not get off so easy is to make them accountable for the transgressions.

Excuses are not enough, they could have done more as well as better to police their commercial enterprise.

Holding them accountable in the manner I suggest is not an attempt to chill blogging however, if anything it just is a way to hold people more accountable in such cases.

Posted by: mwb | Mar 15, 2006 2:54:37 PM

Hey, way to go --- you got him fired! Not that I condone his actions, but what's this crap you write:

(I might not make such a big deal out of it, except that Mahoney is blogging for Explore New England, which, according to his blog, is "a joint adventure from The Boston Globe and Boston.com.")

So, is your beef more with the NYT, this Mahoney guy (who it seems you haven't commented about trying to contact him directly), or just the fact that you still have the Explore New England blog linked on the left and it had you so outraged that it used 7Days content that wasn't cited? Did you ever ask Mahoney to cite you before going this far in getting him fired?

Posted by: Steve | Mar 15, 2006 2:57:55 PM

Sometimes when I sell something on ebay, I'll lift an item description out of someone else's auction. That seems to be about what this guy did. Getting him fired seems pretty harsh. I guess y'all play for keeps. Remind me never to cross Seven Days.

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian | Mar 15, 2006 3:18:35 PM

I *did* email Mahoney. Haven't heard back. There's no way to leave comments on the Explore New England blogs, but I sent in a feedback form from the blog and from the boston.com site. When I didn't hear anything after a few hours, I called the content manager.

Firing him was their decision, not mine.

And why should I have to ask him to cite our content? He used it verbatim. We pay to produce that content. Failure to cite a source is plagairism, pure and simple, and in this case, it was something that happened repeatedly.

It is SO EASY to cite a source on a blog. He could have added two words to his posts and everything would have been fine. He could have prefaced each of his writeups with "From Seven Days" and made the title of the paper a link to our website. Anyone who has ever read a blog is familiar with this convention. Why would someone fail to do something so simple?

And to be clear, I would have chastised any blogger who did this, but I think the offense is more egregious because Mahoney was being paid to blog by a news organization. You could say that their site is competing with us for advertising dollars, and here they are, using our content without attributing it. That's just wrong.

I don't mean to demonize Mahoney--I'm not sure this was an intentional slight on his part. Maybe he just made a dumb mistake. But he *did* make a mistake. And the stakes are higher if you make a mistake like this while writing under the aegis of the Boston Globe and the New York Times.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 15, 2006 3:34:48 PM

I just applied for Mahoney's job.

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian | Mar 15, 2006 4:03:20 PM

Ha! I bet they'll make you promise not to lie, though. Good luck.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 15, 2006 4:11:04 PM

Hmm... On the one hand, ripping off folks writing uncited is uncool. On the other hand, its possible he didn't consider Calendar/capsule items to be in the same league as reprinting an editorial or feature piece and passing it off as one's own. That would be a mistake, but if he's young and not thinking about it, who knows? Maybe he figures they were reworded press releases. I dont know, as it really doesn't work to second-guess him, given that he didn't write back. The whole thing was a bad move and unethical.

...but I'll admit to feeling a chill at the idea that he was fired outright. Yikes! I hope its because, when confronted, he indicated he was aware it was wrong and was unrepentent. Otherwise, I'm with Haik, that's harsh. Everybody should get a second chance or a reasonable review/appeal process if they screw up. Scary!

Posted by: odum | Mar 15, 2006 8:01:02 PM

I do not condone Mahoney's actions, but I do believe he deserves a second chance. Yes, he did plagarize the content of Seven Days, but it sounds like he made an honest mistake. Haik was correct in saying all Mahoney needed to do was add a few words citing the source. This could have been plain ignorance on his part not knowing the rules of blogging, or for that matter, journalism. Give him a second chance and hope he learned his lesson.

Posted by: Chris Fells | Mar 15, 2006 8:05:03 PM

The fact is that it isn't up to Cathy to give him a second chance or not.

Having said that -- every college student knows that plagiarism is a very serious offense and will get you kicked out of school.

This person scared the reputation of his publishers and his bosses -- it was a very unprofessional thing to do.

Posted by: NOK | Mar 15, 2006 8:48:15 PM

I know you might not think it's a big deal to lift a calendar spotlight, but it absolutely is.

Let me explain: Calendar listings are extremely important to Seven Days, and to most alt. weeklies. We spend a lot of time and energy (which translates into $) compiling the calendar. We get press releases and calendar submissions from event planners, which are almost always rewritten into snappy event descriptions for our calendar. This is Meghan's full-time job. She sifts through all of this information and organizes it into a coherent product that gives readers an idea of all the things there are to do in our circulation area.

Each week, Meghan chooses four or five events to spotlight. She puts a lot of thought into offering an interesting mix of choices. Event organizers often pitch events to us to spotlight. It's a coveted distinction in the calendar, because spotlighted events include photos meant to entice people to attend, and they include a 100 (or so) word description that Meghan writes to make the event sound exciting. Getting a spotlight in our newspaper definitely helps increase the visibility of an event, or so the event organizers tell us.

I, too, have written those spotlights, and let me tell you, it takes work to make them interesting. You make a few phone calls, you track down some bit of information that you think will get people to show up. It's not like we're rewriting the press release. I've spent a couple hours just working on one.

This service is important to our readers, and to our mission as a newspaper to be the "weekly read on Vermont news, views and culture." It's something we do that *no one else does as well as we do* (in our humble opinions).

Frankly, the only reason I caught Mahoney reprinting our work is that I had read the Peking Acrobats spotlight out loud to my partner the week before. I saw the calendar spotlight in the Burlington Free Press' Weekend Magazine for the same event, which used the same photo. I saw it, grabbed our paper, and read both to compare them, saying, "look, our spotlight is so much more colorful and more interesting."

Guess which spotlight Mahoney chose to reprint?

Explore New England claims to offer essentially the same thing as our calendar does, though not as comprehensively. Bloggers are a part of their local sites so that they can give readers a sense of what's going on locally, and tip them off to events they might not otherwise hear about. That's why Explore New England was paying Mahoney — to feed them exciting, original local content that readers couldn't get anywhere else.

He stole that content from our newspaper. If the Burlington Free Press, or the Stowe Reporter, or the Colchester Sun stole our calendar spotlights and reprinted them in their newspapers, I think no one would question an editor's decision to fire the person who took the material, regardless of that person's motivation or excuse. Why should this case be any different? Just because he's blogging? Shouldn't we hold ourselves to higher standards?

And of course no one has said Mahoney can no longer blog. They've just said that he can no longer get paid to blog for Explore New England. He can certainly start up his own site if he has a strong desire to continue blogging.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 16, 2006 7:21:58 AM

I also want to point out that though I listed Mahoney's blog on my Vermont blogroll, his audience was not people who live in Vermont. The Explore New England site is aimed at tourists. On the Blogger page on Explore New England's site, it says, "Meet the Locals."

That means that Mahoney's audience likely would not have seen Seven Days. Neither, I suspect, would his editors or managers or whoever was in charge of his blog. In other words, it was extremely unlikely that anyone was going to catch him taking our work.

Like I said before, I have no idea if Mahoney *meant* to steal our content, or if this was an honest mistake, but either way, it merited some kind of action.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 16, 2006 7:45:20 AM

It's unfortunate indeed that Cathy had to be the one to blow the whistle on this guy. But as she points out, who would have noticed? Certainly the features content manager did, and would not, have caught on. Cathy did abosolutely the right thing by notifying a manager, who made HIS OWN decision to fire this guy.

This episode raises for me a big issue in blogging: To what extent to you impose oversight on bloggers? For me, one of the top distinctions between a blogger and a journalist is oversight — the notion that an editor has reviewed your content before it goes to press. Bloggers, for better or worse, can post instantly without oversight.

This issue I think is most relavent to news organizations providing — and indeed in some cases paying for — blogs. This is uncharted territory in many respects and it's important that news organizations have a clear policy and understanding of what kind of service they are providing.

The decision by ExploreNewEngland to hire "non-journalists" as bloggers clearly contributed to this problem. A Journalist knows plagairism is illegal and unethical. Period. A non-journalist who is blogging, who presumably took a a basic english course in middle and or high school, should also know that it's wrong in a general sense.

Question of the hour: What oversight, if any, do people think news organizations should impose on their bloggers, who are either paid or unpaid?

Posted by: Scott Monroe | Mar 16, 2006 9:51:41 AM

Ha! I knew there was something dodgy about that blog when I sent you the link those many moons ago, Cathy. I'm surprised it was this bad, however. Stealing content is beyond the pale, whether it's a calendar item or a 3,000-word piece on global warming. People can talk about how nebulous these issues are with online content being so new etc., but I think that's a cop-out. Everyone knows it's plagiarism, and everyone knows it's wrong.

And by the way - nobody should be losing sleep about how poor Matt Mahoney is going to be feeding his wife and nine kids after losing his paid blogging gig. It was most likely not his primary source of income - these pay-to-blog things are usually freelance and very part-time. I could be wrong, but I think I remember reading his profile on the site, which included his profession ... did it say "banker?" I think it did. Anyone remember?

Posted by: Yankunian | Mar 16, 2006 11:15:03 AM

Ah yes, old Yank, it was you who sent that link. I couldn't remember how I'd found it. Thanks! We miss you on this side of the pond. Hope things are going well with your various endeavors.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 16, 2006 11:22:42 AM

Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of journalism--of any writing, for that matter. We all learned this in third grade, when we found out it was NOT OKAY to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica verbatim for the report on Benjamin Franklin.

The fact that a paid, "professional" blogger was so brazenly stealing another writer's work goes to the heart of the ongoing discussion in 802 Online about bloggers as journalists. If bloggers want to be taken seriously--invited to ask questions at the governor's press conferences, for example--then they must conform to basic journalistic standards. Who polices professional writers? The writers themselves. Do my editors ever ask me if I've stolen someone else's words to pass off as my own for this week's assignment? Of course not! It's up to me to uphold the ethics of my profession. No stealing--that's not a tough one to remember.

I was shocked to learn yesterday that Meghan's work had been stolen. I think some of the above posts show that 7Days readers may sometimes take the pithy, elegant eloquence of the Calendar for granted. They may not realize how much hard work goes into translating often-leaden press releases into the vibrant Calendar that Vermonters rely on.

The shock resonated on another personal level as well. A few days ago, I learned that a former colleague at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin has been fired for plagiarism. Tim Ryan wrote entertainment features for 22 years. I remember him as genial and affable--a devoted family man. Apparently, he was also plagiarizing in the laziest, most unnecessary way: regurgitating multiple paragraphs from sources like Wikipedia and Yahoo entertainment, barely changing a word.

Tim had a plum job. All sorts of top entertainers come through Hawaii, and as the main guy at one of only two big papers in the state, he got to interview anyone he wanted to. Why cut and paste from press releases and websites? It makes no sense. He's appealing his dismissal to the union, but as time passes, more instances of his plagiarism are emerging. Every article from when the Star-Bulletin began an online edition is still available on the Internet [a partial online edition began in '95; full in '98 or so], so enterprising sleuths will continue to unmask his deceit. As has often been said, you are never caught for your FIRST instance of plagiarism.

When I first heard about Tim, I flashed back to this. The Star-Bulletin had a strict no-comps policy. We were not allowed to accept complimentary tickets to events. The paper even paid for the tickets to shows I was reviewing. Yet I always saw Tim and his family at the national Broadway touring shows, where tix were $75 each. I would only be there if I was writing a review. He was ALWAYS offering to get me comps to events. At the time I thought, "Well, he's a unionized staffer, and probably wouldn't get fired over something like this." But as a lowly freelancer, I sure as hell wouldn't think of risking my job over free tickets to a show.

His continual, entirely blase offers made me uncomfortable then. I just kept politely turning them down. Now I see them in a different light--perhaps part of an ethical slippery slope. And now his career is over. There are no second acts for a plagiarizing journalist.

Mr. Mahoney is lucky he has a day job. I keep thinking about Tim's little girls, who must be teenagers by now. What is their family going to do? But I think Mr. Mahoney's employer needs to take a hard and thorough look at every aspect of his work. Anyone who could commit such an unethical, illegal act in one work arena could certainly be doing it in another.

Posted by: Lisa Crean | Mar 16, 2006 11:59:31 AM

A few words from Cathy's editor/publisher. Plagiarism = stealing. Stealing = bad. Attribution = good, and easy to do, as Cathy noted. In fact, Seven Days is generous in "loaning" copy to anyone; all we ask is for the few words that acknowledge the source: the paper and the writer. In our experience, most people ask for permission--musicians, artists, new businesses, pretty much anyone we've reviewed or featured who wants to retain the article or review on their own website. This whole discussion about the standards to which bloggers should be held is important, and will help shape what media is becoming. But doesn't honesty still matter?
BTW, I know it's old-fashioned for me to care, but I'm an editor:most of you are misspelling plagiarism. (From the Greek plagios--interestingly, it means oblique, slanted. So why do the French call their beaches plages? But I digress...)

Posted by: Pamela Polston | Mar 16, 2006 12:12:49 PM

Scott Monroe wrote: A Journalist knows plagairism is illegal and unethical. Period. A non-journalist who is blogging, who presumably took a a basic english course in middle and or high school, should also know that it's wrong in a general sense.

Just wanted to note that there are non-journalist bloggers who know that plagiarism*[1] is both illegal and unethical, as comments posted within this string help to illustrate.

Especially being that what was in question is a blog and the ethics of its blogger, albeit a paid professional working for a major media outlet; this is not about journalistic standards applied to professional journalists, but rather one of ethics, period.

By the way, while I attended middle school (even if I was absent in mind and spirit most of the time, literary sleeping through some of my classes), English was not a class I excelled at or learned much in and I did not attend high school either, attending vocational school instead. Yet I still knew that plagiarism*[1] is not only wrong, but much more than that as well; even if I had not known how to spell the word correctly [smile].

*[1: per Pamela Polston, Editor, 7Days; above comment]

Posted by: mwb | Mar 16, 2006 3:05:02 PM

Because French is based on Latin, not Greek, mon dieu.

Posted by: Votre àmi | Mar 16, 2006 4:48:17 PM


You are a freakin snitch! How would you like it if someone took your paycheck away and you couldnt't pay your rent or other bills. If you had any brains at all you would have called that guy and had a private chat with him. If he did it again, then you should have said something to his boss.

If that had been a lesbo, you wouldn't have said a thing to anyone. You're a lowlife b**** in our eyes now.

Posted by: Lisa R. | Mar 19, 2006 8:59:03 PM

I edited the above comment slightly for profanity, but left in the rest.

I actually did call the phone number for Matt Mahoney that was in the phone book, and it says the number's not in service. Still haven't heard anything from Matt via email. I wouldn't even bring it up, but everyone seems to think that it's so easy to contact this person, and frankly, it's not.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 20, 2006 7:14:01 AM

I think anyone could agree Mahoney was wrong in this practice, that it is a violation of law as well as ethics.

However, no one likes a tattletale, Cathy. Doesn't reflect well on you.

Also, the Calendar spotlights are nice, but geez, they're not that good... get over yourselves!

Posted by: J | Mar 20, 2006 1:21:20 PM

>However, no one likes a tattletale, Cathy.

Yeah, well no one likes anonymous commentors either.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 20, 2006 1:59:46 PM

Nobody likes hypocrites either. You've commented anonymously on other sites, Cathy.

Posted by: | Mar 20, 2006 2:08:15 PM

I have to comment here as well. Ratting out this guy and causing him to lose his job and income was a horrible thing to do. You should have handled it differently. An article or two that someone copied or allegedly copied, is not THAT important a thing in life to cause someone to get fired over. Terrible thing you did, Cathy!!! I am absolutely horrified.

Posted by: Rob | Mar 20, 2006 2:36:33 PM

Have I commented anonymously on other sites? Not to my knowledge. I may post as "cresmer" but I always link to my blog when I do, which IDs me. I guess somebody could pose as me and comment, but honestly, I don't do anonymous comments. I think it's too easy to be mean and spiteful when you're anonymous.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 20, 2006 3:49:18 PM

Nobody likes hypocrites either. You've commented anonymously on other sites, Cathy.

Wha? Uh, how would anyone know, if the comments were, you know, anonymous?

It's interesting how many people don't get how big a deal plagiarism is. Perhaps the offending author is among them, I'm certain those commentors here that have criticised Cathy's actions are. The offending author was getting paid to write original content and he stole someone else's. That's theft, just as surely as someone stealing any other kind of intellectual property and claiming it as your own is theft. It's not the reproduction of the IP that's wrong, it's the not crediting the source.

You did exactly the right thing, Cathy.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Mar 21, 2006 4:08:18 AM

Cath, not a nice thing you did. You should have thoroughly thought out the consequences for both you and the other blogger before you did anything. Ciao!

Posted by: Paul Pizzagalli | Mar 21, 2006 2:33:50 PM

Prior to this one, there have been 27 comments in this thread. Of those, six are anonymous (no link to email or web presence). All but one of the anonymous comments are critical of Cathy "outing" the plagiarist (the one that wasn't expressed no opinion either way). Of the commenters who are not anonymous, only Haik was critical of Cathy's choice, the rest were supportive.

My suspicion [WARNING: conjecture ahead!] is that the correlation is due the anonymous commenters not being very net-savvy. They are either afraid to stand by their opinions (which seems weird in this case) or they don't have email/web presences to link to in the first place. They are read-only web surfers. This seems consistent with a less-than-sophisticated view of how bad a thing plagiarism is. I think most bloggers and read-write net users are hip to issues surrounding plagiarism.

Another possibility is that all of the commenters are actually one person using different names--such are the murky waters of anonymity.

Posted by: Bill Simmon | Mar 21, 2006 4:34:07 PM

I am the ANONYMOUS blogger who posted this:

I think anyone could agree Mahoney was wrong in this practice, that it is a violation of law as well as ethics.

However, no one likes a tattletale, Cathy. Doesn't reflect well on you.

Also, the Calendar spotlights are nice, but geez, they're not that good... get over yourselves!

SO SORRY I didn't put my name up.. I just didn't feel it important enough to spend the time on.. my mistake.

I stand by what I said. You are a tattletale.. I know because my three year old has started to do it, and she is learning there are consequences. You might find the same to be true.

I am glad to have this opportunity to also bring back up the most interesting thing about this: the idea that some snippet of language is such a valuable work product, while technically true from a legal standpoint, is silly on the face of it. That you would care so much about something so mundane and easily fixable is.. well, laughable!

One email to his boss would have been enough, and might have had the same result.. your admission that you kept trying over several hours until you got him fired seems.. well, unreasonable and excessive.

Like a lot of people are on here saying.


Posted by: Jason Baker | Mar 22, 2006 3:23:03 PM

Oh I forgot to say something nice as well...

Your article on CEDO is GREAT....

Posted by: Jason Baker | Mar 22, 2006 3:49:30 PM

Jason, thanks for posting your name. I think you misunderstand something--no one responded to my emails or the feedback forms I filled out. That's why I called. I wasn't trying to get the guy fired. Honest. I never asked that he be fired, I never brought it up. They took that action on their own.

Maybe that makes me a tattletale. I think it means I'm persistent. I think the fact that they responded as quickly as they did in the way that they did shows that they took that matter at least as seriously or maybe more so than I did.

Posted by: cresmer | Mar 22, 2006 4:32:47 PM

"When I didn't hear anything after a few hours, I called the content manager."

It's unlikely this guy was able to read or reply to your queries in the time frame you describe. Some people aren't online all the time, simple as that... not waiting for a response even a day seems to indicate you and the folks there at 7D were agitated and impatient. That's your choice, but..

Why be so upset in the first place? Why tattle in such a fashion, rather than wait for a reply or just email the editor?

I told my 3 year old: when somebody does something you don't like to you, you use words to tell them what you want, and if that doesn't work, you tell an adult. So recently she tells on EVERYTHING that happens in vision that she sees as "wrong".. and the daycare provider wasn't digging that. So we had to talk about "tattling", and how if it involves her directly that is one thing, and if it doesn't that's another. Trying to get a little one to understand the distinction between something she NEEDS to tell an adult about, and matters than she should work out for herself or accept.. well that was hard, but she is a smart kid and seemed to get it.

The speed and intensity with which you desribe yourself pursuing this just struck me as similar to when a kid tattles: demand for instant attention, subject of questionable gravity, etc...

You are a very smart group of people there at 7D. The things are just blurbs... and all he did was not attribute, according to you. Not worth getting all worked up about.

That's all I meant. Take care.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 23, 2006 10:52:29 AM

Since you appear to have an anonymous troll infectation perhaps you will allow me to offer some anonymous troll disinfectant. Imagine if you will, someone walks into your yard everyday and picks the best fruit from your tree. He/she then sells said fruit as 'Mister X's fruit' to the local store. He/she is obviously stealing from you. The next time he/she is in your yard you tell them 'hey stop stealing my fruit.' They person does not respond. The next day he/she is back in your yard so you call the local store and say 'hey Mister X' is taking the fruit from my tree and selling it to you. I'd appreciate it if you would put a stop to this. No one would think you have somehow wronged Mister X. He/she is after all a thief. Nobody minds if a the neighborhood kid picks a piece of fruit one day without asking permission. When an adult continues to steal from you though day after day it is indeed a problem. For those trolls who think it is no big deal - where do you live and do you have anything I might want?

Posted by: thou shall not steal | Mar 24, 2006 4:31:06 AM

I think I'm ready to add my two cents. But first I'll quote Lisa Crean's thoughtful and well-composed comment:

"Plagiarism is the cardinal sin of journalism--of any writing, for that matter. We all learned this in third grade, when we found out it was NOT OKAY to copy the Encyclopedia Britannica verbatim for the report on Benjamin Franklin."

Nothing pisses me off more than people who don't have the energy, wit or talent to come up with their own product. In ANY field.

I can also tell you that it takes a good degree of effort and refinement to write "short"; I have to do it all the time.

Those of you who don't think plagiarism is a serious business wouldn't mind if I "borrowed" one of your paychecks, would you?

Posted by: casey | Mar 25, 2006 11:18:53 AM

I have known Matt for a long time and he is a really great person. It seems to me that as long as the tourists are coming to Vermont and spending money...who cares where they get their information from! It sounds like someone wants to mark their territory like a dog. I think firing him was an extreme action that should have been thought about longer. The problem is everyone is so worried about doing the "right thing" that it gets in the way of letting a person grow professionally and personally.

Posted by: mhickey | Jun 6, 2006 5:36:40 PM

No end in sight to the entertainment afforded by my presence in this time capsule. No end indeed!

Who got who fired? Doncha think a big newspaper might be interested in maintaining at least an appearance of integrity, if not integrity itself? Doncha think the employees of that paper might know that and make decisions to lift or not to lift content based on that knowledge?

His mistake, his consequences, his show.

Posted by: Deconstruction worker | Jul 18, 2006 8:53:31 AM

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