consultants are sandburs

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plagerism? "Using a plagiarism checking website, it was determined that Kelly’s column was 67 percent plagiarized, according to Boardmember Marsha Van Denburgh." "It was Erkel who last week called for a special board meeting to discuss plagiarism allegations against Kelly -- after Van Denburgh said a plagiarism-checking Internet site calculated that Kelly's column was '67 percent' plagiarized."

More of the same out of the St. Francis School Board, ABC Newspapers reporting, here; Strib reporting, here. Tammy Sakry and Paul Levy, respectively, writing.

One headline sentence taken from Sakry's item. One from Levy's. In each item the chosen sentence was a stand-alone paragraph.

In each report the single-sentence single-paragraph reporting "67 percent" was almost exactly half-way through the item.

If you were to run both stories through "an online plagerism-checker" one against the other, what's your guess of likelihoods? Well I did not bother trying, time is precious, but if you are curious, do the experiment and report results in a comment.

THE POINT is conscious parallelism can exist and is it "plagerism?"

Things can quickly get to hair-splitting when judgmental words are at issue.

THE BIGGER POINT, when the topic and facts are the same and experienced news reporters write of the story, unconscious parallelism is inescapable.

And that is what the two reports show. When there is only one story and two reports, and each reporter has a reputation for scrupulous objectivity, not editorializing in the news reports; what should you expect? Nuanced alternatives, but if both reports are true to the facts, the truth is there IS only one story.

THE BIGGEST POINT: ABC Newspapers and Strib are REAL newspapers, not anybody's masquerade. Each has existed for years. Each among other things has published legal notices for years. Neither is anyone's overnight brainchild.

Levy and Sakry have written for years. Each bylines what he/she writes. Each has contact information under her/his name online.

Moreover each newspaper is a real newspaper if you consider that the word itself, "newspaper," includes "paper" within the word, with each real and each on sale, on paper, at multiple local outlets - paper version.

Each has a substantial staff, and each has plant and offices on which each pays property taxes. Each has distribution channels, through which those paper versions are delivered on time, and regularly so.

Then there is that subjective thing. You simply know Sakry is nobody's stalking horse, and Levy is nobody's stalking horse either.

Each has built reputations for integrity and gravitas, and done so over years.

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More on the subjective and objective delving into what is or is not truly a "newspaper," in a later post where presently I am still mulling facts in my mind while waiting on email responses I might receive but which are unlikely.

Meanwhile, apart from any claim of plagerism, have a look here and here, and go back as I will to see how many foreclosure notices got published there as "legal notices". Notices of foreclosure get published by banks and lawyers, sophisticated people who want to get things right in case they may have to convince a judge that statutory notice requirements have been satisfactorily met, in a reasonable and businesslike manner.

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