Patch, the chain of online local news sites funded by AOL, has posted an apology on its Palo Alto site for lifting copy from the VentureBeat technology site. The apology said the plagiarism was committed by a freelancer, who wasn’t identified. The freelancer apparently wasn’t fired, either. The apology stated, “The writer has been told that taking work of other writers or news organizations without attribution is absolutely not acceptable.” Patch said it has also apologized to VentureBeat. No word on what exactly was lifted from Venture Beat.

Last September, West Hollywood Patch lifted an obit from a blogger, according to the LA Weekly. And later that month, Patch acknowledged that it took police mug shots from an independent local news blog in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Bay Area Media News,

9 Comments

  1. Patch isn't going to survive, but it's a good thing for now, providing unemployed journalists some income while they transition into new careers. Think of it as extended unemployment insurance.

  2. "… a decision to change suppliers" is certainly a firing. It doesn't involve somebody cleaning out their desk and getting severance pay, but it means the supplier will no longer be paid for their work. Call it what you want, but it's a firing, plain and simple.

  3. Freelancers may think they have "ongoing relationships," but publishers see it as merely a series of purchases made from a supplier. They reserve the right to discontinue making purchases at any time without the need to give notice or explanation of any sort. That's not a firing. It's simply a decision by a publisher to change suppliers, or to conserve money.

  4. Freelancers certainly can be "hired" and "fired"! Many freelancers have an ongoing relationship with their publisher, and when the publisher ends that relationship, it's a firing.

  5. Does anyone really believe that "reporters" with Patch.com write their own stories? Has anyone really seen any of these Patch.com reporters?
    As for an apology, save it for next time and next time and next time and all those other next times to follow.

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