The Garden Island Newspaper Fesses Up

On Tuesday I mentioned how journalist Paul Curtis, of The Garden Island Newspaper,  failed to give credit to a blogger and copied and pasted material the blogger had researched nearly two years before.

Andy Parx sent me a link today showing me that The Garden Island Newspaper made a correction in their paper and attributed the bullet’s to blogger Charley Foster.

The Dec. 12 story “Judge: Hapa Trail belongs to state” should have attributed to Charley Foster’s Planet Kaua‘i blog the six bullet points that Theodore Blake’s lawsuit contends.

Of course the newspaper didn’t have the link to Foster’s original post “Local Activist Sue Over Villages at Poipu Development“.

Parx also blogged about the Curtis’s plagiarism the other day in a post entitled “Just A Little Bit, Just A Little Bit” where he states:

…You can’t help but notice that the dispatches from courts and police beat “reporter” Paul Curtis seem to emanate solely from hanging around the courthouse and cop shop and recording and regurgitating whatever they dump in his lap.

But this Saturday might have been a new low according to a post from attorney-blogger Charley Foster…

Parx posted more of his thoughts today in a blog post entitled “Theft, Shmeft” where he not only blasts journalists and newspapers for the blatant plagiarism, he takes it a bit further and blasts those journalist who are supposedly sworn to the Society of Profession Journalists code of ethics for rewriting press releases which happens all the time with our local Stephens Newspapers.

Parx writes:

…One of the staples of a daily “newspaper of record” is the rewritten press release, especially those emanating from local and state government public information offices.

Editors, usually those on the “night shift” of larger papers, avoid plopping the copy directly in their news hole- the place left for news when the predetermined advertising is laid out.

In order to avoid charges of plagiarism they re-write the releases shifting the sentence constructions and using other wordsmithing techniques.

But while you’ll always find the words “according to a county release” or another appropriate credit in our local Kaua`i newspaper, when the identical release is rewritten in the Honolulu paper that attribution is never to be found…

Here are just a few bullets from the Society of Professional Journalists website that state that Journalists SHOULD Do:

  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
  • Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
  • Never plagiarize
  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid

Stephens Media Suing Bloggers and Websites That Use Their Content

The owners of the Hawaii Tribune Herald, The West Hawaii Today, and Big Island Weekly is Stephens Media.  Many folks consider the Las Vegas Review Journal the “sister” paper to the Big Island papers and is owned by Stephens Media as well.

In fact the Hawaii Tribune Herald has a button linking directly to their site.

So now it appears that the Las Vegas Review Journal is suing folks who use content from their papers without permission and or linking to the papers online site *Update* I meant to say folks that  are not linking back to the paper.

It’s now brought lawsuits against 34 separate websites.

The publishers of a noncommercial blog about cats in Boston are among the latest defendants in lawsuits claiming website operators have been infringing on copyrights by posting Las Vegas Review-Journal stories without authorization…

…Friday’s suits bring to 34 the number of lawsuits filed over R-J copyrights since March…

Full Article: 8 more websites sued over R-J Copyrights; 34 total

So those of you folks locally who are thinking of setting up a blog or running a website… be careful who you steal from!  Especially here on the Big Island where our only real newspapers are all dominated by someone so ready to jump all over any one for any thing.

It makes me think Stephens Media is really starting to lose money fast and furious and it’s looking at blaming bloggers for part of that profit loss.

I’ve seen other sites that have mirrored my site before and I didn’t really think any thing of it before… I guess I’ll start having to be more careful about allowing folks using my content.