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Gawker Writer Steals His Own Material

Self-plagiarized sounds so dirty


Some rumblings of discontent over at Gawker Media this weekend, when one of the Internet Detective-ing commentators on Nick Denton's masthead site noticed a striking similarity to one of culture writer Alex Carnevale's posts. The story in question involved one of those glossy-esque celebrity couple rundown listicles that bloggers are so fond of, precisely because they don't take much time to make and generally receive a lot of feedback as commentators provide their own input.

Carnivale's post, entitled "Five Celebrity Couples We Can't Believe Are Real," got the typical number of yays and nays, before someone mentioned that they had seen the same article "verbatim" on another website. Carnevale denied that he had "borrowed" anything more than one joke about Tina Fey's husband from a previous posting he did for his old blog, The Recording, which would have been hard to verify because the other site's post disappeared. But that's what things like Google cache are for.

From a cached version of Carnivale's celebrity piece for The Recording:

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake

Status: Apparently these two are pre-engaged, a marital state that my Dad says doesn????????t exist. I have the sinking feeling that the Summer Catch starlet and JT have united under the solid premise that they will both look like old lesbians in under six years. Must two people jog that often?

Who????????s Slumming It: There is the sneaking suspicion that Biel looks like Chyna underneath her clothes. I????????d link to something terrible, but it????????s too early in the morning.

From Carnivale's Gawker post:

Status: Apparently these two are pre-engaged, a marital state that my Dad says doesn????????t exist. I have the sinking feeling that the Summer Catch starlet and JT have united under the solid premise that they will both look like old lesbians in under six years. Must two people jog that often?

Who's Getting the Better of It?: There is deep possibility that Biel looks like Chyna underneath her clothes. JT calls Jessica 'bro' by accident sometimes, later apologizing with flowers and treadmills. JT can do no wrong.

So now it's one of those self-plagiarizing things where the ethical lines are sort of muddy…if Carnevale wrote the post, shouldn't he be allowed to quote from himself? But the problem comes from Alex's denial that he copy/pasted some of his earlier work onto the high-profile Gawker, which is a fatal misstep for someone who works for a publication that's made a name for itself digging up other Internet celebrities' dirt.

Comments (4)
No. 1 · ask a manager

I don't see any ethical problem here. I'm a writer and I steal from myself all the time, because … it's mine. It's lame that he denied it, but I don't think there's an ethical issue with the original act.

Posted: Nov 24, 2008 at 9:28 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 2 · Dick Nenton

This is like saying a writer who incorporated a newspaper column they wrote into a book is "muddy".

There is so little argument here maybe you'll be deleting it by the end of the day.

Posted: Nov 24, 2008 at 9:55 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 3 · Cyndy Aleo-Carreira

It depends on his contract for Gawker. If he's write for hire, he doesn't own the copyright and it can't be in two places at once unless they authorize it. Lazy way to post, if you ask me.

Posted: Nov 24, 2008 at 11:20 am · @Reply · [Flag?]
No. 4 · Buckaroo

Sad thing is the comment wasn't funny or witty the first time around, so it's pathetic that he felt it was good enough to repeat and Nick Denton should vette his writers better. Perhaps not "muddy" in terms of ethics, but lazy, boring and unoriginal. Good work.

Posted: Nov 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm · @Reply · [Flag?]
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