Steve Jeffrey apologizes for plagiarism, compensates one writer

Steve Jeffrey, the owner of the Anchor Weekly in Chestermere, Alberta, has apologized for multiple acts of plagiarism and settled with a writer whose work he pilfered. Sheila Moss, a humor writer in Nashville, says in an email that she and Jeffrey "negotiated a financial settlement with the encouragement of the Alberta Press Council, with whom I had filed a complaint. I feel that the amount was fair and I'm satisfied with the resolution."

Jeffrey wrote a column at the beginning of May in which he apologized to 14 writers, including Moss, from whom he stole. "Many of the words I used in the Lighthouse column over the past year were not mine," he wrote. A copy of the column, which I couldn't find online, is attached to a press release from the Alberta Press Council. It says the body "welcomes Mr. Jeffrey's public acknowledgement of his wrong-doing," and that it wouldn't proceed further with the complaint it had received.

George Waters, who first unearthed Jeffrey's plagiarism, writes in an email that he didn't pursue a settlement "because I felt that would treat the incident like the usual writer/editor relationship of product-for-fee. Like what he did was all right, like the payment was just 'delayed' somehow. But Sheila was ripped off so many times it makes sense for her." Erik Deckers, another humorist to whose work Jeffrey helped himself, says he didn't ask for compensation, either. "I did receive an apology email and an invitation to connect with him via telephone so he could apologize more personally, but I declined his offer," he writes in an email.

The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association announced separately that the Anchor Weekly has been suspended for a year from the association. Jeffrey was a board member at that organization.

He resigned as editor of the paper in March but apparently still owns it; the paper's online masthead lists a general manager and generic email addresses for a news reporter and a designer as well as contributing writers.

In other recent plagiarism news, Marc Tracy reported Tuesday in Tablet that the Italian journalist Giulio Meotti had contributed plagiarized material to National Review's The Corner blog and to Commentary. Commentary Editor John Podhoretz told Tracy, "I am saddened and outraged that Commentary hosted such theft and I apologize deeply to the writers who had their words appropriated.” The magazine has ended its relationship with Meotti, Podhoretz said.

On The Corner on Friday, Katrina Trinko accused Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of plagiarism but took down the blog post and apologized after Salon's Alex Pareene noted that the premise of the post was fundamentally mistaken.

Earlier: Humor writer says he’s uncovered another serial plagiarist | Steve Jeffrey: ‘I have not plagiarized anything’ | Accused plagiarist Steve Jeffrey resigns from Anchor Weekly | Newspaper association head doesn’t like talking to reporters | The 4 types of serial plagiarists in journalism

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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