Patch, AOL’s network of hyperlocal websites, has once again found itself contending with the issue of plagiarism. On Monday the Palo Alto Patch site issued an apology to readers for publishing content lifted from the website VentureBeat. The post explained a freelancer was responsible for the swiped content, and went on to discuss the measures Patch takes to avoid plagiarism:
While we provide all of our freelancers with a plagiarism guide, we also audit to make sure that all Palo Alto Patch content is original or fully and properly attributed. The writer has been told that taking work of other writers or news organizations without attribution is absolutely not acceptable.
Palo Alto Patch did the right thing in acknowledging the incident and issuing a swift apology – in sharp contrast to the initial response of West Hollywood Patch to an incident involving plagiarized content. But that the issue of stolen work continues to plague the Patch sites is troubling.
Patch has been expanding rapidly – at last count, there were 123 community sites in California alone, with several more on the way. Ideally that growth could mean more jobs for seasoned journalism professionals who no longer have a home in print media – and those aren’t the sort of folks who steal content. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for Patch’s future.
Hat tip Romenesko