Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kouwe fired again!

Felix Salmon has a post on the latest firing of Zach Kouwe. The problem with Kouwe at Dealbreaker was one of maintaining confidentiality, not one of plagiarism. Salmon noted:

One anonymous commenter — and Dealbreaker prizes its commenters’ anonymity greatly — wrote that “Kouwe e-mailed me the other day to tell me he ‘knew’ where I worked”, and later posted a screenshot of the emails in question. It seems that Kouwe obtained the commenter’s email address — presumably through his privileged access to the commenter login system — and then emailed the commenter to tell him exactly where he worked.

[Within the IP community, one recalls all the fuss about Patent Troll Tracker.]

Of note is a comment to Salmon's posting:

The reason Kouwe has struggled at both of his jobs is that he really has no idea how to add value to information that’s already in the public domain, which is a large part of the job for journalists AND bloggers. First he tried plagiarizing to cover up the fact that he doesn’t know much about anything and is not a very skilled writer. When the NYT busted him, he shifted to out-of-context and poorly selected quotes followed by poorly written paraphrases and lame jokes at Dealbreaker. I would be hard-pressed to point to anything he did that qualified as informative, analytical, or humorous. For all that I criticize your blogging when you make a weaker post, many of your posts add significant value to the material you’re quoting, because you always link, perhaps quote an interesting portion, but then add your interpretation, analysis, or humor. Kouwe simply doesn’t know how to do any of this effectively. He may be a fun guy to drink a beer with (I don’t know), but he should not be a writer and he has now violated basic ethical obligations of writing jobs twice in an effort to avoid that fact.

Recall in the NYT matter, how the NYT dragged its feet on admitting the plagiarism. Dealbreaker dealt with the problem more quickly and more candidly.

Of the NYT thing:

"Never inaccurate, even when we plagiarize"
. The NYT, in stressing the "accuracy" of the plagiarism as if this were some kind of justification, entirely missed the point of what the above commenter noted: to be useful, one has to add value to what is in the public domain. Kouwe didn't do this in either of his jobs. but does the NYT get it?


Post a Comment

<< Home