Aug 6, 2008

I wrote that (Updated)

There's plagiarism and then there's plagiarism.

As Slate's Jody Rosen found out, The Bulletin, a small alt-weekly in Montgomery County, Texas, appears to have perfected the second kind - a wholesale theft of words. Indeed, a quick check of the first music review I came across from Music Editor Mark Williams looks an awful lot like this.

The paper is part of the Alternative Weekly Network, a California nonprofit that coordinates ad buys for 110 weeklies nationwide, including the Pasadena Weekly and LA CityBeat (there is nothing to indicate these papers are following in The Bulletin's dubious footsteps).

To join AWN, a paper must publish weekly, "carry no more than 75% advertising content, and no more than 33% non-local material." It's hard to imagine the paper is meeting the last requirement.

In an email, AWN Executive Director Mark Hanzlik says he hasn't done business with The Bulletin "in years" and indicated its membership could be in jeopardy.

Update: Hanzlik now says The Bulletin is not a member of the Alternative Weekly Network. Although a link to the paper appears on the cooperative's Web site (here), Hanzlik says some of the papers make the list simply because the network has placed ads with them in the past.

Hanzlik explains: "It's a bit confusing, but the bottom line is we align ourselves with members, they govern our cooperative network and we're proud to say they're members. The others on the list are simply titles where we may have placed ads."

He adds: "I'm appalled at the editorial practices of this free community weekly in Conroe, but not surprised. We haven't seen a full issue of The Bulletin in many years."

1 comment:

Mark Hanzlik said...

Not that it makes a whole lot of difference at this point. In my email, I stated we haven't done business with The Bulletin "in years".

Nothing about The Bulletin being an AWN member or "its membership could be in jeopardy" was ever said.

The rest of the Bulletin's charade seems to be properly examined.