Thursday, 4 December 2008


Is it ok that I wrote a press release and some lazy journo copied and pasted it into a publication and put her name down as the author?

That, my friends, just hacks me right off. I know it's merely a press release, but it's not the first time this has happened. Surely it's still my intellectual property? And it's bad journalism!

I don't mind so much if someone posts my press release as it is without naming an author. Yes, it's still lazy, but if that person wants to slack off, and the company I've written about still gets some space, fine.

But, in my opinion, using something I wrote and saying you wrote it is so not ok! Any thoughts on how to handle this? Am I overreacting? Should I ask the lazy little slob to remove her name from my work? She'd probably pull the whole release and I'd get in trouble with Boss Chick for losing our client's space.

Sigh... In other (far more pleasant news), my uncle has recently returned from his trip to Nepal and taken some absolutely AMAZING photos. Check them out here.

K, off to write more press releases for people to plagiarise.


The Jackson Files said...

It's just the way it is - that plagerism thing. It used to happen to me all the time when I worked in PR. I'd just let it go.

See you Sat. Yay!

Being Brazen said...

How annoying!!!!

Glugster said...

Not much you can do about it, but it most definately is not ok.

Anonymous said...

how fucking disgusting, people suck, tell the bitch off. what a fricken loser. I'd be way mad if I were you, you should say something to her!

Arkwife said...

I would tell my boss at the very least.

You've been accused of stealing work when it wasn't even your fault, so the least you can do is tell your boss that someone stole your work, especially if it's a colleague, because you should get payment for the work, not them.

Caz said...

hey lady. That happened to me a while back. THe newspaper printed an article I'd written for my company and credited a journo. I emailed the editor and queried it. Turns out it was a FREELANCER who was being PAID for MY WORK. tsk tsk. HOWEVER, at the end of the day the important thing for us was getting the message out also, this was a feature article, whereas yours is a press release - I am fairly sure your client won't care whose name is there... if anything, it looks better for the client if an independent journo has written it. And your client in this case is the one paying, so ya. I would actually let it go. Generally when our press releases get placed verbatim they credit it to "Staff reporter" which is really the same thing.

Anonymous said...

You know, some wise (ass) person I know said Imitation is the highest form of flattery. I disagree; it takes away from my originality somehow... like some person out there will read it and think "Oh wow X is so [insert word here]" MEANWHILE it was YOU!

The Blonde Blogshell said...

That IS NOT OK!! OH MY WORD...I would be seething, if I were you! to not look like a tattle tale, but still stand up for yourself? Hmmm....I would speak to a boss about it (delicately) or perhaps speak to the other journo privately.
Why can't people just get on with it??

boldly benny said...

This is HIGHLY frustrating and I understand because I am a journalist and have done freelance PR work and have had this happen to me.
A few things:
First of all, obviously you're a darn good writer because few (good) editors would allow copy and pasting a press release as it is generally not objective. I would never let press releases go to print in my publications and I can spot them a mile away.

Second of all, it is poor journalism, very poor journalism. It should've been changed.

Third of all, you have achieved exactly what all PRs want - coverage, space, blah blah. But also you have controlled the media content on your client. Do you know how many PRs phone me and ask me to print word-for-word what they've sent me. I then have to explain that that is not how things work!

Finally (sorry this is so long) your boss will probably be so proud that the publication was so happy with your release they decided to print it straight. Unfortunately, while you did write it and it's not cool someone else got the byline, you achieved what you set out to do and that is get your client media coverage. AND you indirectly dictated what was printed about your client... that's pretty awesome.

I had a tricky situation four years ago. A prominent radio DJ published one of my articles on her blog as her own. She identified herself on the blog and labeled it has her writing. I had to send her a polite mail and ask her to credit me or remove it!

Kitty Cat said...

That is SO not okay. If you wrote it, you should get the credit.

Anonymous said...

Gosh that is NOT OK!! So very NOT OK!!!!

Sorry man :( It totally sucks!!!

po said...

I know nothing but to me that is pushing the boundaries too far.

Slyde said...

if you could do some of my computer programming for me as well, that would be a big help.

As long as your doing other peoples work you may as well do mine too...

phillygirl said...

Wow, what a frustrating situation. I would definitely want to fly off the handle and get my name credited. What the other writer has done seems petty and unfair.

But, Boldly Benny raises a fair point. I dunno what the answer is. I dunno how easy it is to "just let it go". I don't know how many times this has to happen to a writer before you can no longer "just let it go" ... all things you have to figure out yourself, I'm afraid.

It doesn't help to hear it, but it is sorta a cool compliment on your work tho ;)

See you tomorrow :)

Tamara said...

TJF: I had no idea you worked in PR! You'll have to give me some pointers ;-)

Brazen: I'll say!

Glugster: True, unfortunately.

Anon: Jeepers - strong reaction ;-) I don't know her personally, so I can't really pull her aside and give her a dressing down.

Arkwife: On this one, my boss would not take my side. I know her.

Caz: I know, I know... I keep telling myself that the important thing is that we got editorial space for the client. But it hacks me off nevertheless, probably because I am a freelance journalist and I could be getting paid to write that article for the publication. I just hope that more than one person uses it verbatim, and someone notices and then the lazy slobs get caught out.

Paula: Hear,hear!

Blondie: Unfortunately I don't know the person, so I can't say anything to her. It just frustrates me because this happens so often. I'm trying to build a name for myself with my writing and there are other people using my work to build theirs! Grrr.

Benny: Everything you say is correct. But it's still really irritating everytime I see my stuff published under someone else's name. Even if it is just a silly press release. You handled the DJ well. I can't believe what some people think they can get away with!

Kitty: Thanks, lady. Pity that's not how it works :-(

HMR: Thanks - your sympathy makes it a bit better ;-)

Po: Me too.

Slyde: Hehehe... do you want your computer to explode in your face?

Philly: I know. That's the thing - the first time, I was irritated but let it go. But it happens so frequently and I get outraged that journalists can be so unethical and sloppy. It almost degrades my profession, if you know what I mean? Can't wait to see you guys tomorrow. TSC is quite nervous. Shame, poor boy.