by Cathy Resmer
This morning I discovered that Burlington resident Matt Mahoney of the ExploreNewEngland Vermont Blog was stealing content from Seven Days and posting it as his own. I just got off the phone with Ron Agrella, Features Content Manager for Boston.com, who apologized for Mahoney's behavior. "As of a few minutes ago, he no longer works for us," said Agrella.
Mahoney was one of six bloggers who contribute to state-specific sitesaffiliated with ExploreNewEngland.com, an online media venture owned by the BostonGlobe and the New York Times. "We use non-journalists for ourbloggers," explained Agrella.
Agrella said that all of ExploreNewEngland's bloggers are independent contractors, who are expected to understand that
plagairism plagiarism is unacceptable. He said that the bloggers are supposed toscan the web and the news for interesting events, then blog about them, citing sources when appropriate.
Agrella was "surprised" to hear ofMahoney's actions — we found at least five instances in which Mahoney had reprinted images and text from our paper verbatim on his blog without citing us as the source. When he spoke to Mahoney to terminate his contract, Mahoney revealed that there were other posts of this nature on his blog. As a result, the company has removed all of the posts. If you click on the site now, you'll find a message saying that ExploreNewEngland has discontinued the blog until further notice. There is no mention of Mahoney's
plagairism plagiarism on the site.
It's worth mentioning that we don't object to bloggers using our content; we love it! Just cite us as the source. Passing off someone else's work as your own is dishonest and unethical. It undermines readers' trust, and that's bad for all of us.
UPDATE; The blog has been taken down, but calendar writer Meghan Dewald, who wrote the material in question, tracked down the Google cache and archived it at Ma.gnolia here. The stuff from Seven Days includes posts about the Peking Acrobats, Moulin Rouge, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Bird's Eye viewing, and the Men at Work tap dancing troupe.
UPDATE II: My esteemed editor Pamela Polston points out that I've misspelled "plagiarism." Ha! Oh, the hazards of the blogosphere. My apologies.