Thugs and thieves?

Plagiarism is theft.

It is the worst professional crime in academe or journalism.

Subsequently, it usually means the end of the professional career for the thief if their theft is exposed.

However there appears to be a different point of view on plagiarism in Scotland.

The copy and paste experts in the Fitba Fifth Estate have clearly normalised this theft in their own heads as no big deal.

Freelance journalist Romain Molina found this to his cost when his work miraculously appeared under a by-line he did not recognise in the Daily Record.

He had published an exclusive interview with Sevco player Sébastien Faure on his own website.

When he put a tweet (@Romain_Molina) out about this the reaction from that blatt’s Chief Sports Writer Keith Jackson was highly instructive.

The French journalist was dismissed as a “drama queen” by Jackson and he had been guilty of an “a pathetic over reaction”.

Mr Jackson explained on twitter that the Daily Record had purchased the interview from a freelancer based in England. Indeed, he further explained that this chap translated sports stories from the foreign press and sold them to UK publications.

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian was quick to pick up on this story.

Not only was this an allegation of plagiarism, but it was being stoutly defended by Mr Jackson as no biggie anyway.

This is not the first time that Greenslade, a professor of journalism at the City University in London, has called out Jackson.

The young French journalist was clearly incredulous at the response of the Daily Record’s Chief Sports Writer on twitter.

He was quickly informed on twitter that this might not be the first time that the award winning team on the Daily Radar had indulged in this practice.

An NUJ colleague here in Ireland regularly sends me through pieces from the Daily Record and says that they look remarkably similar to work that had been published on here some time previously.

Of course I couldn’t possibly comment.

If I was being charitable to the Daily Record chaps then it is possible that they somehow think that if something is exclusively published on a foreign website by a foreign national then it doesn’t count as a proper scoop.

However, compare and contrast the response of BuzzFeed when they learned that their Viral Politics Editor Benny Johnson had been guilty of plagiarism.

They fired him.

After all BuzzFeed have their professional reputation to protect.

Moreover, this is what anyone in the trade would expect to happen.

I cannot think of any publication that I have ever worked for that would take the Daily Record approach as opposed to the ethical one favoured by  BuzzFeed.

On this side of the Pond the columnist for the Independent Johann Hari had no choice but to resign when his plagiarism came to light.

The prestigious Economist magazine had it nailed with this piece on “unethical journalism”.

I have spoken to Romain and he is very clear that he has been the victim of plagiarism by the Daily Record.

That, of course, will be for a court to decide if it gets that far.

However, I understand that Romain, who is currently resident in Scotland, has sourced a lawyer there who specialises in media litigation.

I can exclusively reveal that this story is not yet off the radar.


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