November 4, 2011

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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