Booted for plagiarism, California columnist finds his Patch

Montrose Patch | Glendale News-Press
A California writer who lost his newspaper column after plagiarizing has explained himself on the local Patch site, where he’s now a blogger. Why?

Nicole Charky, Patch editor for the towns of Montrose and La Crescenta, says the reason she welcomes Dan Kimber is “pretty simple: Patch is a forum for the entire community.”

There’s a difference between Patch articles and its blogs, Charky writes:

Patch articles are written by trained and paid journalists. Articles are subject to journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness, originality and ethics and are edited to conform to those standards. We own them and we are responsible for them.

By contrast, blogs are submitted by unpaid volunteers who are community members. Some are writers, but the majority are simply residents with something to say. We invite all to blog, but we don’t tell you what to say. We don’t edit what you write. Bloggers own their blogs. They are responsible for what’s in them, and they are free to say what they like. Patch simply provides a platform.

Kimber used that platform to explain the plagiarism incidents in a Patch column entitled “My contrition.”

Kimber’s “contrition,” which he said was originally written for the News-Press, took issue with the newspaper’s findings of extensive plagiarism. “For the most part, that material was not a significant portion of the article (I invite anyone to look into the archives and see for themselves) with the exceptions noted by the editor,” he wrote. After the explanations, however, Kimber also wrote, “I was careless, I got lazy and it was dishonest.”

On Sept. 16, a News-Press note said that the paper had discovered Kimber’s column a week before had “largely duplicated” someone else’s work. The column was discontinued, and the paper later published an editor’s note saying an investigation had found instances of plagiarism in 20 percent of Kimber’s columns dating back to the beginning of 2009.

Patch’s Charky had a warning for Kimber in her column: “…we hope he doesn’t plagiarize anyone. If we find out he has, we will take his blog down. If YOU happen to find out that he has plagiarized anything, we hope you’ll let us know.”

Kimber could not be reached, and Patch Editor Charky did not immediately respond to an e-mail for comment.

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  • Pink

    Hilarious, David, because you wouldn’t know anything about anonymous, cowardly comments, would you?

  • David Rotenstein

    Because I don’t like being on the receiving end of anonymous, dare I say cowardly and inartful, comment writers. Yes, I dislike Patch but I never tried to hide that I wrote for Patch. No, I was not asked to not write for Patch. I stopped writing for Patch after an editor for whom I was working unethically provided information to someone being covered — someone she had been covering and subsequently realized that she was too close to the story and should not be reporting it. Interestingly enough, that person tweeted and blogged extensively about being given the information by the editor and it’s available to anyone familiar with the story and who has good Google skills. As for voicing opinions, as far as I know, that’s still a lawful right.

  • Pink

    Funny, why did you edit your comment, David?

  • Pink

    ***note to the comment from David Rotenstein aka “PatchPatties” on Twitter.

    David is on a crusade to criticize Patch at every opportunity he has. I read a lot about hyperlocal news and the companies trying to do it and almost every time there is a negative story about Patch or any article about Patch for that matter, David’s nastiness is stamped on it in the comments section. You would have no idea this guy is an adult. His questionable and unprofessional tactics often go undisclosed because people think he’s just a normal guy with an opinion. They have no idea that he actually freelanced for Patch and was not asked to continue writing for them. They don’t know that he’s a hater with a very angry and vengeful approach to companies with which he has a problem. Go David! You’re insight of Patch is always so right on.

  • Jean-Yves Durocher

    Love these electronic media…
    So ethical…

  • David Rotenstein

    Patch has some serious exposure on the plagiarism front. A Decatur, Georgia, Patch writer copped words and ideas from a local blogger. When confronted by the charge, the Patch editor unilaterally denied that his writer had plagiarized the blog posts and then cut off comments to the offending Patch article. So much for transparency …