BuzzFeed is reviewing Benny Johnson’s work

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BuzzFeed is reviewing the work of viral politics editor Benny Johnson, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tells Poynter.

Two Twitter users who go by @blippoblappo and @crushingbort have published what they call “more plagiarism” from Johnson, who Smith told Gawker’s J.K. Trotter is “one of the web’s deeply original writers.”

Some of what @blippoblappo and @crushingbort uncovered is patchwriting, but Smith says, “There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post.” He told Poynter yesterday that he planned to keep Johnson on staff.

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  • MTA000

    thanks. i ask for two reasons, first it’s a little ambiguous who brought that term into the description of Johnson’s transgressions but mostly – it seems to me as an outside observer that single source patchwriting is an acceptable practice at buzzfeed. if that is the case (officially or unofficially) the site is most likely rife with plagiarized material.

  • abeaujon

    I was trying to draw a distinction between obvious plagiarism and patchwriting in the examples @blippoblappo and @crushingbort gave, but I’m sure I could have done a better job of it. Appreciate your thoughts.

  • seign

    It seems like you’re using the term to downplay what he did (“hey, he didn’t plagiarize, he only patch wrote!”), when even the source you gave for the term’s headline is “‘Patchwriting’ is more common than plagiarism, just as dishonest”. So even if you’re technically right, patch writing is just as bad as plagiarizing and you should have made that clear.

  • abeaujon

    He didn’t say it. I didn’t invent it, either. Here’s a good Kelly McBride piece on patchwriting: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/everyday-ethics/188789/patchwriting-is-more-common-than-plagiarism-just-as-dishonest/

  • MTA000

    is “patch writing” smith’s term or yours?