In the News: Handling the Work of Others
Both the book world and the journalism world have recently seen high-profile cases of writers accused of mishandling the work of other writers.
Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, pulled Assassin of Secrets by Q. R. Markham from shelves and offered full refunds to those who had already purchased it. The spy novel contains numerous passages lifted from previously published works. As detailed by Edward Champion on Reluctant Habits, for example, on pages 13-35 alone Markham used plagiarized material in more than thirty passages, including the work of five different authors.
After questions concerning his handling of other journalists' work, Jim Romenesko, who has blogged at Poynter.org for over twelve years, resigned his position this week. Although his media aggregation blog provided links to original sources, it did not consistently use quotation marks to clearly indicate which writing was not by Romenesko. Poynter Online Director Julie Moos described Romenesko’s methods as “overaggregation” that showed a “pattern of incomplete attribution.” Steve Buttry, director of community engagement and social media for the Journal Register Co., considers the issue a punctuation error at worst. Examining the various perspectives involved, Erik Wemple, opinion blogger for the Washington Post, concludes with an intriguing takeaway, leaving us to consider what role editing could have played if this story had developed differently.
Image courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski (quinn.anya).