Romenesko+ Misc.
Examiner.com vice president of editorial Travis Henry says he first learned about his contributors' plagiarism by reading yesterday's Romenesko+ post, "Examiner.com is caught 'pulling a Daily Mail'." He says in an email that "the articles in question have been removed from our site and we have ended our relationship with the contributors who submitted them." He adds that "this instance is not indicative of the quality of Examiner.com at large," and that at Examiner University "we include a course on plagiarism and are very clear that plagiarism is prohibited by our terms of use."


From TRAVIS HENRY, vice president of editorial, Examiner.com: I wanted to offer some thoughts on your post yesterday that mentioned concerns aimed at Examiner.com regarding possible plagiarism of articles from the Missoulian. I want to offer clarification, as we take matters like this very seriously.

The articles in question have been removed from our site and we have ended our relationship with the contributors who submitted them. In fact, your post was the first time we were made aware of which specific pieces of content on Examiner.com the Missoulian had concerns with.

Our legal team spoke with Sherry Devlin from the Missoulian on Tuesday afternoon, providing her information on how to formally submit a take down notice pursuant to the DMCA and in line with policies featured on hundreds of similar sites, and as set forth in our site's terms of use. We then followed up with an email, explaining the process again, and provided a link directly to the take-down notice requirements set forth in our terms of use, which are the same as those required by the DMCA statute. To take down content, we need a description of the infringing material and the URL where such material is located on Examiner.com. With more than 2.5 million pieces of content, we were unable to locate the articles in question without this information. Furthermore, we never received a reply from Ms. Devlin, and without her description of the content, we did not locate the articles in question.

Gwen Florio is correct when she cited our office as saying that contributors are "...not employees, they're independent contractors." All articles on Examiner.com are contributed by various independent third party authors (referred to on our website as “Examiners”), and are selected, written, posted solely by the authors themselves. However, when someone points out problems with material posted by an Examiner, like the Missoulian, we always inform the applicable Examiner and request they remedy the situation (or if we receive a valid take-down notice in compliance with the DMCA, we always pull the material from our site, as we did in this case once the content was identified). In the instance with the complaint from the Missoulian, neither Ms. Florio nor Ms. Devlin provided information on the specific content or the contributor that may have violated our editorial guidelines, and as such we were not able to identify or remove the content in question at the time of the initial request.

Plagiarism is inexcusable and we try our best to guard against it, as do most media organizations. This instance is not indicative of the quality of Examiner.com at large. Our mission has always been to provide original, high-quality content, and we will continue to improve. Today, we enable several quality controls, including an editorial review team made up of veteran journalists, a process for identifying and vetting quality contributors, as well as a training resource, Examiner University, for our Examiners with courses on everything from journalistic ethics to writing in the third person. We include a course on plagiarism and are very clear that plagiarism is prohibited by our terms of use.

We apologize to the Missoulian, and also to all of our contributors who create amazing work every day. This isolated incident is not a reflection on them or Examiner.com.

Thanks for your time.

Travis Henry
Vice President of Editorial
Examiner.com