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Told you so

The Examiner in San Francisco has taken down posts on its Web site that were written by a prolific unpaid blogger. It turns out that the blogger simply copied and pasted large extracts of text from other publications and ran them under her own name. It turns out further that the blogger, apparently inexperienced in the conventions of blogging and publishing, was given no supervision or guidance by the paper.

The comments from Jim Pimentel, the executive editor of the Examiner, as reported in, are instructive. "They're blogs. They don't get edited," he said. "We don't give any direction to people on what to write in their blogs. And that's standard operating procedure."

Mr. Pimentel further told Matt Smith, the SF Weekly reporter, that “the Examiner has a less-strict standard for accuracy and attribution in stories that appear on the Web. That's because online stories can be changed as journalistic problems emerge, while printed stories require publishing corrections, he said.”

Further: "’There are obvious different standards,’ he said. ‘Content in the [printed] Examiner runs through different editors, so there's a level of accountability that I have to the newspaper. But as we've seen on the Internet, that accountability isn't always there.’"

But we can all take comfort in learning that the Examiner reserves the right to delete blog posts that are plagiarized or libelous.

So you open up a publication to people who are not schooled in the niceties of attribution or confirmation of accuracy, you allow them to put anything on the Web site without meaningful oversight, and then you are surprised when people inform you of improprieties. Who could have foreseen it?



Posted by John McIntyre at 5:15 PM | | Comments (2)


Congratulations on muscling the SF Chron into withdrawing this blog, but why do I as a Baltimore resident have to go to a SF paper to read the following about my hometown?

The answer is that you didn't have to go to a San Francisco paper, because the story was on The Sun's Web site for much of the day yesterday, as well as in this morning's paper:,0,5412204.story

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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