Deadline

Thursday, December 25, 2003

A short media storm brewed last week when a big story broke out of Indiana and everyone wanted in.

Here's my personal part. Late at night at work, I was told of a news article I had to break. I book real people and I get my ideas from the newspaper. Or Fark.

Well a writer found a news story out of Midwest about Jason Smith. He's a 6 foot plus high school basketball phenom who Purdue U. Really want on their team. But they offered the wrong Jason Smith the scholarship. The 5 '2 head of the chess team was flattered and refused to give back the free ride.

Brilliant. We want to bring the chess chump to our studio and have him shoot baskets. I have a little sour grapes about it because my boss got condescending and sent me off to my desk at 10:30 at night to find this story. Fine. That's my job.

When I did an internet search for "Jason Smith Purdue basketball" nothing came up. I couldn't even find the original article. I waited for the next day at work at and asked the writer for the article. Hoosier Gazette. In Big letters it said "Indiana's first source for inaccurate news and commentary since 2003."

The writer wasn't the only one who was fooled by the large 18 inch comic sans disclaimer. Jim Rome rallied on about it on his radio show. ESPN mentioned it. Josh the editor of the comedy version of the Onion, was shocked to see another one of his headlines from the Hoosier Gazette on a CNN scroll. "Indidana voted fattest state," maybe a true statement, but it was a made up headline.

What these people did was dumb and sloppy. They obviously went to Fark, pressed Ctrl- A, Ctrl-C, Ctrl- V.

But the San Diego paper committed a crime. They copied the story right from the website word for word. Then they changed the Headline and By line. Their article was "compiled" by one of their writers. Compiled nothing. They stole it. They quickly pulled it off the internet version and the next day printed this sorta retraction.

Again, if I can make this personal. (In the new year, should I start writing in an accent?)
I remember in college I failed this test in psychology of women. (I know, I know.) I went to the professor to discuss this bad start. She was very helpful and got me a tutor. (Yes, I had a tutor in the psychology of women. Yes, it was a woman. No. Now leave me alone!)

Before leaving the teacher told me of something also troubling. Another guy also got a 64. He also had the same wrong answers.

I remember him asking to cheat off of me and I told him it was a terrible idea. I confronted the stoner and he told me I needed to try harder and concentrate more. If not for me, but for his chances of getting into law school.

This plagiarism of weblogs has to be stopped. Why is Jayson Blair and that Shattered Glass kid getting punished and these jerks are getting by?

People should be fired. Movies should be made. I should be treated better at work. The vending machine should have extra Diet Cokes.