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Telegraph Caught Republishing Blogger’s Post Without Acknowledgement

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of August 2006 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

This tale of the Telegraph Newspaper foolish action in publishing a bloggers post without permission, acknowledgment of source and under one of it’s author’s name (all they did was change the heading) has left me shaking my head today. Very odd.

See the original post, a cached version of the copy (the actual article on the website has now disappeared) and the author’s reflections.

I wonder whether they’ll go beyond deleting the evidence and make some sort of an apology?

update: The Telegraph’s author has posted an explanation here.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Yep, the post has been removed, but that may be because it wasn’t the newspaper’s fault but the journalist’s. If she submitted the piece to a subeditor, as is normal, the sub would have no idea it was a straight lift from the blogosphere, nor then would the editor.

    On the other side of the coin, how many bloggers have ripped off copy from the big newspapers without attribution. I’ve probably done it myself on a busy day when I’ve lost a link. Let’s be grownup about this.

  2. very true John – mistakes happen and individuals do fail from time to time.

    However it’s an interesting one to me because the question I’m always asked when I do presentations on blogging is about the editorial weaknesses of blogging. The assumption that is often made is that mainstream media is more accurate and more professional because it has editors and that blogs are less accurate/professional/valid because they don’t…..

  3. John, you’ve ripped off an entire newspaper article without attribution? If so you should know better, just as Melissa should have here.

    And really, who cares how many other bloggers have done it? Writers employed by a major publication have clear guidelines against stealing content. They are supposed to set the standard that we poor amateurs aspire to, right?

  4. Blogs have editors. I write a post, let it linger as a draft and come back later to edit… and I’m an entirely different person then. ;)

  5. I concur with Brian. The paper is responsible, just as the buck stops at the President for anything his underlings do. No excuses John. (sorry to link drop, but I caught USA Today manipulating Condi Rice’s photo making her look demonic. http://www.fromthepen.com/condi_usatoday_scandal.html . They tried to lie and someone was fired)

    This action would make Cliff from Cliff Notes blush!!!!


  6. Its pleasing to see that the Telegraph took action, hopefully there will be an apology or similar to Claire Zulkey along with appropriate action against the “journalist” concerned. I vote for her resignation by monday or else fired for incompetence!

  7. As a former newspaper journalist, I honestly couldn’t believe what I saw on the Telegraph post. It was a copy and paste job. Newspapers, magazines, books have policies against copying their stuff. And I’m surprised Claire isn’t more irrate about it. (Although I’m sure the traffic generated by it will be incredible.)

    There needs to be good, solid standards in journalism as well as blogging (that are communicated widely through those circles — peer to peer) … and we need to hold others accountable for this. Admittedly, I’m still learning, and will make mistakes [hopefully not copying an entire article without any attribution though], but the “pros” are supposed to be our role models in this, right?…

  8. I remember the incident in which Rueters or AP (I’m not sure) was quoted as saying that they “do not credit blogs as sources” last year. The blogger whom they plaigiarised blogged about this but I lost track of the discussion and the issue.

    It’s really such a shame when the traditional media outfits cry out loud for journalism ethics and copyright while they themselves are the most vicious and committ the wanton violations of such.

  9. It is true that form time to time people do make mistakes.It is funny that an organization like the telegraph does not have people to authenticate the content is appauling, and to the journalist who did this …………..wow. All that courses and discussion on plagerism went out the other ear.

  10. I was disconnected from the blogging world and the first news that I got since I went online a few hours ago is this.


  11. sorry John I can’t back you up here.

    This was a straight lift, not a chunk of text but the whole damn lot, with a changed headline to boot.

    I think it’s a bit different from a blogger ripping off a whole article to one that takes out small chunks and pull-out quotes to build on their own posts without atrributing it. In fact, from my experiences in blogging I think most reputable bloggers try and do the right thing.

    Yes, the sub and editor handling the copy would have no knowledge of this, but as a professional journalist (which I’m presuming she is) she would no doubt know fully well the implications of what she’s done (unless she missed the many lectures on plagiarism, ethics and the law in her journalism classes).

    And EVERY media outlet would have strict guidelines on such issues. From experience, VERY strict guidelines.

    And the media outlet in question have to answer to this. It’s their brand on the line.

    The question is why did she do this? lazy journalism … pressure to get copy out … Journalism can be a highly competitive beast. It’s do or die at times. And the pressure is always there to keep up.

  12. Brian, I didn’t say I had ripped of “a whole article”, but that many bloggers have used bits of copy without attribution, sometimes inadvertently.

    Darren, the Telegraph, in particular, is noted for the integrity of its reporting. One journalist fell down on the job and will undoubtedly be sacked, so did Jason Blair at the New York Times. It happens. Bloggers generally aren’t paid or supervised, so you have to accept that standards will be lower … and they are. The exceptions are commercial bloggers and those with journalistic training, like Andrew Sullivan.

    Personally, I’m amazed that more incidents of this kind don’t occur in daily newspapers. The pressure involved in putting them together has to be seen to be believed.

    I’ve also seen stuff I’ve blogged artfully rewritten in newspaper columns which I’ve previously corresponded with. Good luck to them.

  13. Martin, you’re absolutely right about the need of newspapers to avoid plagiarism, and clearly the journalist has fallen down here. She’ll almost certainly be sacked. But the newspaper is not necessarily to blame.

    The collective blogosphere can be very self-righteous on these matters, ignoring its own failings and widespread abuse. That’s my only point.

  14. There’s already an apology from Ms. Whitworth at http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/society/melissawhitworth/aug06/misunderstanding.htm . She says it was a case of misunderstanding between her and her editor.(Via coreb’s comment at digg).

  15. Don’t worry John I still love you. :)

    Here’s Melissa’s explanation and apology. What do you all think?


  16. Brian, I think the explanation makes sense…it’s too bizarre otherwise. Surely she would know better than to submit a story that is clearly written from Chicago.

    I’m buying the accident…as for the boss/editor…incompetent for sure.

  17. Helena says: 08/28/2006 at 4:36 pm

    The explanation does make sense, but I think the “My apologies to Claire…” sentence does not go far enough, at all. In my opinion something like “My sincere apologies to Ms Zulkey. This should never have happened and we will make sure it will never happen again” would have been more appropriate.

  18. Well, I was almost right, wasn’t I?

    Brian, I’d be devastated if you didn’t ;-)

    As for Claire, well, she had a piece in the Daily Telegraph. She’s a mainstream journo now.

  19. Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to the person from that forum who told me to go to your site :)

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