Jon Flatland

Humor columnist disappointed Flatland didn’t rip him off

Mark Saal wonders why, despite a long career of pilfering humor columnists’ work, Jon Flatland left his alone. He searches some of his favorite lines from his columns and comes up empty — and a little disappointed.

No real writer likes to see plagiarism happen, but don’t kid yourself. Ninety-five percent of all the humor columnists in the country were secretly hoping they’d had at least one piece among those plagiarized by Flatland. And the other 5 percent are liars.

The snub, he decides, is a wake-up call: “If I ever expect to be plagiarized, I’m going to have to start producing — right here, right now — some better source material.” Read more

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Jon Flatland was fired for plagiarizing in the ’90s

Ashley Tribune | Poynter
Jon Flatland’s resignation last week for serial plagiarism was not the first time he’s lost a job for stealing other people’s work. Flatland was fired for plagiarism while serving as editor of the Cavalier County Republican in Langdon, N.D., Francis Materi writes in this week’s edition of the Ashley Tribune, where Flatland was editor from 1989-’94. Tony Bender, who publishes the Tribune and used to work for Dickson Media, which owned the paper at the time, told Materi that he fired Flatland when he was caught pilfering Lewis Grizzard’s work.

“I should have hung (Flatland) from the highest tree,” Bender said. “Naively, I never imagined he would do it again. It appears, given enough rope and a complete lack of conscience, Jon has finally managed to hang himself.

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How serial plagiarist Jon Flatland learned he’d been caught

Jon Flatland’s incredible plagiarism spree came to an end earlier this week after a phone call from Greg Bulmash, who was among the writers humorist Dave Fox notified to say that Flatland had plagiarized their work.

Bulmash says Flatland, a columnist and former newspaper owner, copied his 1996 poem “When Dad Pulled Over.” “He changed the antagonist from an older sister to a brother, but it was otherwise pretty much word-for-word,” Bulmash wrote in an email.

“I called the paper, demanding to talk to the editor, not knowing that Flatland was the editor,” Bulmash said. “He claimed he hadn’t realized he’d plagiarized, saying he’d found it in an old folder and thought he wrote it. I asked for a public retraction and correction and suggested he get ready to issue more apologies because it seemed other authors had similar issues with him.”

After Bulmash called, Flatland emailed his boss, Rick Bussler, and resigned. Read more


Jon Flatland, columnist and former newspaper owner, exposed as serial plagiarist

Jon Flatland, a columnist, a former president of the North Dakota Newspaper Association and one-time newspaper owner, has been exposed as a serial plagiarist.

When confronted with the evidence gathered by humor writer Dave Fox, Flatland abruptly resigned from his position as interim managing editor of the Times in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota and “quickly and quietly left town,” according to the paper’s publisher.

In a profile last month of Jon Flatland and his wife, whom he met online, the Minnesota native said, “Don’t try to be someone you’re not, because if and when you do meet someone through a service like eHarmony, they’re going to find out pretty quickly you weren’t being honest. Just be yourself.”

It’s unclear how many humor columns of Flatland’s included stolen material, but it appears to go back many years and involves work taken from a variety of columnists. Read more

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