AOL News Site Patch Caught Plagiarizing Again: This Time It's Not In West Hollywood But In New York State
Talk of the Sound
We received some sanctimonious feedback after the Weekly reported Thursday that the West Hollywood version of AOL's McJournalism news site Patch lifted someone's content wholesale and then failed to immediately apologize for it (the site later took the obituary in question down and apologized).
Turns out the WeHo edition of the hyperlocal outlet isn't the only one that's been caught stealing. The New Rochelle, New York Patch lifted a photo from a local news site and -- once again -- failed to fully acknowledge the situation.
Here's the statement a Patch editor made following Talk of the Sound journo Robert Cox's complaint last week that the site stole his pic:
Simply put, our New Rochelle Patch Local Editor Allison Esposito did not plagiarize anything from Mr. Cox's blog in any form.
The objects in question -- police generated mug shots -- are publicly available and any similarity to Mr. Cox's presentation of those public images is purely coincidental. Linking mug shots together in Photoshop (in this case, apparently doing nothing more than placing three similar sized objects in a row) is standard operating procedure for news organizations everywhere.
Cox says he put the publicly available images together in a photo-lineup-style Photoshop composition that was then lifted by Patch. The site later apologized via editor-in-chief Brian Farnham (sound familiar?):
The image she posted was, in fact, a download of the composite image you made from the police mug shots. I sincerely apologize for this unattributed and unauthorized use of your image. We have extremely high standards of journalism here at Patch, and Allison did not live up to them. Her behavior was unacceptable and we are taking immediate disciplinary action. The image has already been removed from our story.
We wanted to talk to Farnham about those high standards Friday but he graciously declined to speak to the Weekly, saying our recent coverage of his operation indicated we might not give it a "fair shake."
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