This story is not complicated. Jim Romenesko, the famed media blogger, has for some time been using other people’s words as his own without putting them in quotes and directly attributing them. This is plagiarism. Yet the media is rallying to his defense because he’s been so famous and powerful.
They beat up on Julie Moos, his editor who brought it to everyone’s attention, as schoolmarmish. Well, when you enforce a code, or simply admit that there is a code, then you’re going to get called a schoolmarm or square or a goody-goody or some other unthinking epithet. People who stand for something always get tarred with these labels. If it is more important to you to be good rather than to be popular, you will choose to do the right thing and live with people calling you names and dismissing you as overly-preoccupied with ethics.
CJR nails it: The most frustrating thing about the Jim Romenesko affair is the way that so many people who should know better are insisting that there is no Jim Romenesko affair.
Romenesko, the seminal media blogger, resigned from the Poynter Institute last night after his boss, Julie Moos, published an article detailing his occasional failure to indicate that the language he was using to summarize the stories he linked to was, in fact, taken verbatim from the stories themselves. (Moos’s post was prompted by an e-mail from CJR’s Erika Fry, who was requesting an interview for a forthcoming story about the Romenesko+ blog.)
The article made a lot of people very angry—primarily at Julie Moos, a woman whom nobody knows, for having the gall to publicly criticize Jim Romenesko, who is famous. And while much of the rancor seemed directed at Moos’s tone and timing, plenty of people seemed certain that there was nothing to complain about at all.
D. emails Luke: A “blogger … using other people’s words as his own without putting them in quotes and directly attributing them. This is plagiarism.” Sounds an awful lot like somebody we both know, Sunny Jim, so if I were you — and I thank the good Lord every day that I’m not while I curse the fates that I sired you — I’d take care about riding the high horse. “But … but … but … it’s fair-dinkum fair use, dad!” I’m sure you’ll squeak. Or, “It was all just a copyright violation,” you’ll plead. It’s bloody plagiarism, you churl! You’re as guilty of this as the “blogger” fellow you castigate. From what I’ve seen, you bloody sinker, ALL of you so-called bloggers are parasites, thieves and weak-minded layabouts parroting the work of other, better men and women. How I wish you were standing in front of me right now. When I finished with you, no amount of Alexander Technique could ever put you back together, mate. You should be fair-dinkum ashamed. I know I am.