Late yesterday afternoon, Hollywood Reporter senior editor Eriq Gardner posted a typically well-researched update about the lawsuit brought against John Travolta by a Royal Caribbean cruise ship male attendant. A California federal judge has rejected the actor’s attempts to send the matter to arbitration based on the ticketed-transaction nature of the trip.
This morning, a staff-bylined item on Radar Online covers the same territory, without any hat tip or credit to Gardner. More egregiously, there is at least one sentence in the Radar blurb that appears to be a verbatim-lift from the THR end. Can’t blame Gardner for being a little peeved.
Even though a “hat tip” rarely sends any substantial Web traffic to the source article and gives arguable false creative license to far too many Internet news items, it’s still considered standard Net etiquette. In the Travolta item, Radar links to its previous reports about the matter as a reminder that they too have been on the Travolta courtroom beat. But in this case, they do appear to have missed the boat.
Here’s another example of a Radar item sentence that sounds far too much like one from THR‘s page. As Gardner also notes in the above tweet, the Radar headline is wrong; the California federal judge did not send this matter to trial.
“I think what’s most important here is actually not the plagiarism,” Gardner tells FishbowlLA via email. “That’s certainly a terrible sin, but what’s more sad, in my opinion, is that journalists don’t take the time to read underlying source material to come to their own conclusions. There was absolutely no need to rely on me. I posted the judge’s decision. We need harder, more scrupulous effort.”