Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Have you no shame, sir?

"No, my pants aren't on fire," says Steve Jeffrey. "It's just a warm day."

Continued pressure was brought to bear on "Anchor" editor Steve Jeffrey after my column yesterday about his bold, blatant plagiarism of my writing and that of 13 other humor writers in the past year. 

The Telegram, a Newfoundland newspaper which has three writers among those 13, posted an in-depth story today which includes Jeffrey's comment that he "doesn't know" why the archive of 52 back issues of "The Anchor" suddenly went offline yesterday an hour after my links to them, clearly showing more than a dozen instances of his plagiarism, appeared.

If Steve Jeffrey had an employer, he would have been sent on his way already with a cardboard box full of family photos off his desk. But Jeffrey runs the paper. Best I can tell, he has no board of directors or a boss. A person of conscience, caught in so clear a violation of journalistic ethics, would resign.

If you were an editor and you were caught plagiarizing other writers, would you resign? Give me a number. Would you only resign if you were caught five times? Twenty? O.K., 40. Let's go 40. How about then? Give us a number, Mr. Jeffrey. Show us that conscience.

Since links to those archives have been removed from public view (which innocent people do, you know, when they want to clear the air), below I am posting three more examples from the backups I collected last week before breaking this story.

These are for any readers who did not think the two examples posted yesterday by Poynter.org writer Andrew Beaujon were damning enough.

Here is a link to my column, "Sick of standardized testing? Bubble THIS in," originally posted January 15, 2008. Click it, and it will open in a new window.

Then click below and compare my original to this clip of Jeffrey's column, which he printed in "The Anchor" on May 19, 2011:

Below is a link to a column by Laura B. Randolph from Ebony magazine, dated Dec. 1999: "The spirit of Crassness."

Click it open, then come back and compare it to Steve Jeffrey's rendition, "The night before Crassness" from Dec. 15, 2011. At the beginning he changes a few words, because Ms. Randolph's original clearly was written by a woman. But then it gets rolling on the straight-up copy-and-paste:

And how about a piece from Sheila Moss, from whom Mr. Jeffrey purloined 25 different columns. This one is called "The cat toy."

Compare that to Steve Jeffrey's version, "The Christmas cat toy," printed in "The Anchor" Dec. 29, 2011:

I know. I should probably have put up easier-to-read graphics, but you get the idea. 

In the Telegram interview I referenced earlier, Mr. Jeffrey said he "hasn’t copied anyone and that he's trying to 'figure it out.'" 

There are three copies above. Two copies on Poynter yesterday. Shall we go for 40? Give me a number, Mr. Jeffrey. Give me a number.
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Jeffrey resigned. Story here.

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