Borderlineblog apologizes, but stands firm on plagiarism

Just got an anonymous email from a reader, regarding an earlier post, Kudos to the Waltham Shopper; Questions for Sally Collura:

It's really important to me that bloggers put correct information on the internet otherwise you can hurt a lot of good people, businesses, etc.

1. The fact is the Waltham Shopper is not a weeky publication but a monthly one.

2. Councillor Sally Collura is NOT the publisher, Glenna and Joe Fabbo are.

3. Sally Collura does not claim that the information is all her own. If you read the first installment as I have you would know that she stated that she would "pass along information" in her column to others in hopes to educate them to the history and benefits of tea.

4. Sally Collura, a Waltham City councillor accepts donations to her campaign as many other candidates do and all candidates must file campaign finance reports on all funds raised.

Finally, I have also read that Ms. Collura over the years has done a lot of wonderful things in the Waltham community and through her local cable access show has promoted organizations such as the Salvation Army, Waltham Boys and Girls Club, GWARC and a host of other non-profits.

Bloggong [sic] can be a wonderful way of allowing people to express them selves and also to pass along information but it can also destroy good people as well.

The writer did not sign his or her name, but brings up some valid points. I have to apologize for making incorrect statements about the frequency of publication of the Waltham Shopper, and the identities of the publisher. I was wrong (although it would be helpful if this information was printed prominently somewhere in each issue).

I also apoligize for suggesting that Councilwoman Collura has a conflict of interest with real estate companies because of her Waltham Shopper association. This is not the case if she is not the publisher of the Shopper. I also recognize that Sally has done some great things for this town, and for that she deserves recognition.

However, I totally reject point #3 of the anonymous email.

If she puts her byline on an article, that means she wrote it. She most certainly did not in this case, and perhaps other cases too. It's one thing to paraphrase someone else's work, or distill it, as part of a report. But "passing along" some information about something by copying it verbatim and without attribution deceives the public and is unfair to original writers of the article. It would be like me copying and pasting the text from a News Tribune article and claiming it as my own. Or the Waltham Shopper copying something from me without saying so, and printing it as "By Jim Smith". If I found out that someone took a composition that I wrote without my permission and was claiming it or parts of it as his or her own words, I would be very angry. Additionally, if that person was making money off of my writing without telling me, and taking credit for it, I would demand that it stop and I be compensated for what has already appeared in print.

I just received the most recent copy of the Waltham Shopper, and I am going to check all of the bylined articles for evidence of plagiarism. I'll report my findings later in the week. I would be very disappointed if others are taking credit for copying other people's work without permission, attribution, or compensation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that you have so much time to specd "checking out" the latest edition of The Waltham Shopper to get back to readers with your "findings" about who is actually giving credit for articles which may not be their own words but rather taking interesting and important information regarding the health benefits and history of tea!

Get a life! First of all Glenna and Joseph Fabbo own and publish the Shopper as a convenience and benefit to residents of Waltham, Newton, Watertown, Weston, etc.

It is the wonderful Glenna Fabbo that writes the recipe column and the people in history column monthly about famous and not so famous Americans. Both columns are very interesting and informative but guess what? Theya re nor her own words! Glenna does a lot of her research over the internet for recipes and information about people in history and uses that information in her columns. Sometimes verbatum! Does that make it any less valuable to the reader? NOPE! Not in my opinion anyway. Her profiles of people well known and some not so well known are a good read and I thoroughly enjoy them. I know that Mrs. Fabbo did not "write in her own words" all the info she passes along but rather gathers it all and shares it with her readers.

As for your apologies to the Shopper and to Councillor Collura it is nobel of you to admit your shortcomings as an "informed" blogger publisher however you still seem not to "get it" when it comes to doing your "homework" before typing away on you blog site.

Sally Collura is not paid by the Shopper to submit her column for publication monthly. This is something she has been doing on a volunteer basis since another writer of a "gift basket" store stopped writing her column on gift wrapping, gift suggestions, tips, etc. back a few months ago I believe.

There was also a gentleman who owns the Whole Health Farmacy who had a column in the Shopper monthly as well. That column was very similar to that of the tea column in that he also aquired a lot of his information from books and the internet and passed it along to readers through his monthly column. Most of what he put in his column was not his own information nor his own words but it didn't make it any less valuable to know and it didn't make me think any less of Roger Moreau, the writier of the column.

I hope that my thoughts on this matter enlighten you to a more kind approach to your blog writing.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't really fault anyone for submitting an "anonymous email" (you bring the point up that the email was anonymous time and time again in your rebuttal, as if this is a bad thing) when you don't post your real name on here. If i were the one to respond to you, I'd probably leave my name false or simply anonymous as one should always follow the rule, 'don't press send on an email if you wouldn't want your name attached to the contents in public'. One way the blogosphere is useful - to both you and your readers - is that anonymity can be a nice, warm blanket at times. Just a thought.

10:50 AM  

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