Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bitter sweet

This week's East Boston Times includes a story on a reporter's discovery that granulated sugar was first produced in this neighborhood at the Boston Sugar Refinery, which was started in 1834. The piece, entitled "A sweet story, indeed," starts on Page 5 and jumps to Page 10. It begins with a first-person account, but then becomes a story on the history of the sugar plant in Eastie.

William Sumner's 1858 book, A History of East Boston, is quoted and referenced appropriately. Then, unfortunately, there is a long chunk of the story that is right out of Wikipedia, which is rather disappointing. Except for a single flip-flop of two parts of a sentence, the next five paragraphs are taken verbatim from the entry on the Boston Sugar Refinery, interspersed with a Sumner quote on the smell of the sugar plant.

Maybe this was a legitimate error. I hope it is not standard operating procedure for the Times. I know that across America teachers are fighting a daily battle against students who frequently plagiarize from the Internet, as the convenience of simply cutting and pasting is difficult for teenagers to pass up. Certainly we demand more from our media.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry Jimbo, now you are an expert on sugar too. If you are such a good journalist then why don't you work for a big company or a decent outfit? I think Joe Mason has finally gotten you to be negative too. When you get a real journalistic job then you can offer your advice

Anonymous said...

O.K.
First Jim let me introduce myself.

I am Joe Masons brother Cristie,I used to work for years at Kahlua with Stevie,and Joan Chance.

I don't blog anywhere but Joe asked me to keep an eye on his e-mails,and to check your blog for any vicous posts.

You see Joe has suffered massive Kidney failure,and has not been to well for weeks.

Jim,I surfed your blog to see what he was talking about,and am surprised you allow such comments,and it didn't take long to find them.

As far as this post goes that is not a real paper by any stretch,and do you think that guy who has hurt my brother Lynds could cover all those supposed colums he says hes done ,no way,its cheating.Good for you in pointing it out.

Now Im going to post the following on all of the posts that have attacked my brother.

"To John Lynds ,and John Forbes":

Im going to start attending community meetings esp. Orient Heights meetings because I know you both attend them,and I want to meet you.

Im going to introduce myself with a hand shake,and talk with you face to face,and see if you want to back up your coward hate speach all over this blog,uner the cowards name of Anonymous,to me.

To Sal Lamattina ,
Im also going to be talking to you.Ask Silvio your wifes brother how I am as a person,we hung together for years before you met your wife. Its my understanding the 3 of you are behind this hate filled stuff,as my brother fights for his life.

The three of you sk for attacking him during this horrible time!

Jim
Thank You !But you shouldn't allow it.Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Fewer posts about the East Boston Times please and more posts about the late great Captain Lou Albano!!

Anonymous said...

Jim, this is so funny! Joe Mason's brother? Is it possible? I mean can we really have these two fools at once?
The truth of the matter its Joe Mason because there is no way that two brothers can possibly mispell so many words and put commas we thre aren't suppose to be.
Jim, your blog has made my night and I thank you so much, I can't stop laughing

Anonymous said...

I have Sumner's book Jim, were do you think Wikipedia got thier info from?
Boy Jim, even when you've been scooped on something you can't even admit it?
Just say--Oh, the times pointed something out I had no idea about, isn't that cool.
It's so obvious you doubted it, went to wikipedia, saw it was true and had to find something wrong with it.
You are truly an a#$h@(*)!
I thought it was a great story and as a lifelong resident I didn't know sugar was refined here--And I'll bet every last cent in my pocket you didn't either.
If you read the story it tells basically of how the writer went home to look it up and then you basically read what he is reading and was educating himself about.
He's a better writer than you Jim, get over it.

-Life lone resident and Times fan!

Anonymous said...

I was with John at the Cafe that night and he said "I'm going home to look it up online when I get home". And appears he did. The way I read the story, Jim, is one persons account of how he became educated about this subject. It basically says "I went home and this is what I read" and ends how he learned something new not only from Cafe but from what he read.
You just knit picking now. I use to be a big fan of this blog Jim and the Times now I'm just going to stick with the Times--it's far more intersting and less personal. You Jim, just pick on people and act high and mighty.

-EB newcomer and another Times fan.

Anonymous said...

Really Jim, do you have it in for the Times that much? Do you research every Globe and Herald story and try to find out where they get all thier info from? I would guess no. You got beat on this story Jim and it's obvious and if it was in the Globe you'd be writing a glowing review of the story and suggest everyone go and read it. Hey, Jim, how about mention the very nice feature on the EPA's documentary on Neptune Rd. back in 1973. Very nice piece of writing in my opinion and nice images to go along with the story.

Anonymous said...

Wow, tough crowd tonight. Jim, if it's true it would only be one more example of poor journalism on behalf of the Times.

Anonymous said...

It's not a tough crowd, but I have a tough challenge for Jim, walk a week in John Lynds' shoes--he like dog sh@#, he's everywhere.
What did you think of the coverage on Open Studios Jim, you didn't mention that one!
We didn't see you down here.

-Local artist

Jim said...

"...walk a week in John Lynds' shoes..."

Actually, I was a reporter for a couple of years. I know what the job entails. One thing I never did was cut and paste from Wikipedia -- or from anywhere.

"...you've been scooped on something you can't even admit it?"

I am no longer paid as a professional journalist. See the difference?

"I have Sumner's book Jim, were [sic] do you think Wikipedia got thier [sic] info from?"

The Wikipedia article has various sources, each of them appears to be properly referenced. Unlike a newspaper story, there is no byline.

"You just knit picking now."

How is plagiarism nit picking? A high school student might be suspended for such an infraction, or at least they'd be given an F.

Anonymous said...

I believe if I read it right it said according to...and then had a few graphs on the subject with a direct quote from Sumner. I agree with the other posts and I think you truly are knit picking here...I believe saying according to and then following that with historical info the writer is not saying 'these are my words' but words from Sumner, historic texts or wikiperdia. Really Jim get over yourself. It was a little off the cuff historic piece. Your acting like the kid submitted it for a Pultizer and won.
It's a community newspaper Jim. Start your own if you don't like the one we have. I find it very informative and a pleasure to read becuase 90 percent of the time it has postive peices about the neighborhood unlike the Globe and Herald who only focus on the negative stuff in Eastie.
For years all I read in this newspaper is how Eastie has all these wonderful things and a rich history. I think Mr. Lynds truly loves this neighborhood.
Get some positive feelings flowing here Jim beacuse you are turning into the rest and this blog is becoming another example of someone pointing out only the neighborhood and its people's flaws instead of focusing on the positive stuff.
You should be ashamed of yourself Jim.

Proud East Boston resident (for over 65 years).

Anonymous said...

Boy Jim, lot of hate mail here today. While I very rarely read the Times I do pick it up on occassion and like you agree it could be better. However, I read the piece in question and I didn't see anything wrong with it. As a former English teacher Mr. Lynds did say 'according to' after several graphs of a first person narrative. In my humble opinion that is enough for me as a reader to assume what comes next is not his but info he has obtained elsewhere. I don't remeber ever seeing footnotes on feature, news or political stories Jim in a newspaper. Maybe the paper you once worked for included them. Correct me if I'm wrong.
The story then reverts back to a first person narrative about how the writer learn something new (whether it was from the internet, wikipedia or a book).
I would ease up a bit here Jim and don't be so sanctimonious.

-Putnam Street Resident

Anonymous said...

Jim

I am a big fan of the Blog...but it seems to me you are just looking for reasons to be critical of the Times and more so of John Lynds. Face it, the Times isn't the Globe or the LA Times - its a community newspaper. Do you mean to tell me all your information that you post on here are your own ideas? I see a lot of reproduced information in your posts as well. I know, I know, now you will tell me that you are not a newspaper so you are held to a different standard. Well if that's the case, then maybe you shouldn't be the one judging the Times! Keep up the good work and lay off the Times - it makes you look more and more like an elitist cry-baby!

Anonymous said...

Jim does get more comments than the Times gets letters to the editor.

Jim said...

After reading the anonymous comments calling me "sanctimonious" and "an elitist cry-baby," among other things, I went back to review the article in question. I figured maybe I missed something and jumped to a premature conclusion, and I was prepared to apologize if my initial post was misleading in some way.

However, upon further review, the call stands as made. Plagiarism, as defined by Random House (via Wikipedia) is the "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work." The five paragraphs in question were clearly cut and pasted into the story. There's no gray area. The rules are the same for The New York Times, the East Boston Times, a high school newspaper or a sixth-grader's homework assignment.

The quotes from Sumner's book are clearly pointed out as such, but there is no attempt to reference Wikipedia for the material in question (which itself was apparently drawn from six separate sources, all referenced on the site). This isn't a close call. This is an F on a high school paper and charges of academic dishonesty for a college student.

Maybe some believe that this is what writers and reporters do -- and occasionally such cases do indeed surface (Jayson Blair, Mike Barnicle), but these are the exceptions and they violate journalistic codes of ethics and sometimes the law. The Society of Professional Journalists code says unequivocally, "Never plagiarize" (as well as "Admit mistakes and correct them promptly" and "Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media").

One commenter wrote: "Do you mean to tell me all your information that you post on here are your own ideas? I see a lot of reproduced information in your posts as well."

Any time I take words from another source they are properly referenced, often with links provided. Otherwise, all of the words are my own. When ideas come from others, I mention that. When writing a longer piece -- like the look at the Jewish community of East Boston that I wrote for The Eastie Jolt -- I do research, I interview people and then I write the text myself, giving credit for quotations or other sources where necessary.

So, if your opinion is that plagiarism is OK, then that is your opinion. However, it isn't the view of almost all professional writers, as well as those of us who write as a hobby, for fun, for intellectual stimulation or whatever reason. I, personally, take the written word quite seriously, and if that is sanctimonious then so be it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a copy of the MLA Style Sheet is in order for using citations.

Jim said...

Actually, almost every reporter has a copy handy of the AP Stylebook. Mine is close at hand.

Anonymous said...

Will the EB Times print Lou's obituary next week?

Anonymous said...

Jim - we love you but you really need to get a life. Now John Lynds is Mike Barnicle? That's not how I read the sugar story - I think you are really reaching here! Seems to me that it has been become a weekly obsession with you to shit on the Times - your bias has become obvious and I held you in higher regard.

JohnW said...

I didn't even know he was sick!!

...or alive for that matter.

(re: Anon's third posting)

Jim said...

I've read Mike Barnicle, I've met Mike Barnicle, and ...

But seriously, the latest response, while criticizing me, does not counter a single point that I made. I'm open to logical argument, but as usual I'm just seeing personal invective.

Anonymous said...

Jim I have come to the conclusion that the Times now sees your blog as a threat. Unlike the newspaper,people can actually express an opinion,and unlike the Times,you will print it whether you agree or not. Your increased readership no doubt annoys them. Now to the subject at hand. John Lynds did indeed plagiarize the story. That would get most writers,including Mike Barnicle fired.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, that last post is ridiculous Jim...fired!!! Really Jim is that what your looking for here? Do you not like this kid that much your now calling for him to be FIRED!!! That is overboard. It's a community newspaper. This kid has a family he's suppporting probably not on a very high salary (you were a reporter once Jim and you were not getting rich right?).
You got your point across Jim. I didn't see it as plagarism I saw it as "according to blah, blah, blah" this is what I read isn't it interesting--check it out." I'd let it go now before it goes too far.
You've crossed the line and now your bordering on taking food off someones plate and that would be enough for me to give you a whack if I saw you on the street.
So maybe saying according to wasn't enough for you Jim but it seems to have been nough for most of your readers.
I suggest taking the post down and end it!!!

Jim said...

Wait a minute. I never said that anyone should be fired, I am not suggesting that anyone be fired, and I do not think that anyone should be fired. Please don't put words in my mouth.

And, for what it's worth, the anonymous comment that used the word "fired" did not suggest it in this instance. Please don't jump to hyperbole so that you can argue against a point no one has made.

N.starluna said...

Anonymous (10/16 @ 3:53) - wow. The depths of irony and inanity are outstanding. Let us deconstruct your claims.

First, it's o.k. to plagiarize because he's a kid. Your use of the word "kid" implies that he is inexperienced, green, wet-behind-the-ears. We can excuse plagiarism in kids because they are immature. Clearly, you don't know John Lynds or you look down on him. Not exactly complimentary to Lynds.

Second, it's o.k. to plagiarize because he's supporting a family? Here is where I must ask: what does this have to do with the price of beans in Modesto? Plagiarism is stealing. And I don't think Lynds is feeding his family words from the internet. If he is, they likely have other problems, like nutritional deficiencies.

Your whole first point basically claims that, because it is the journalist's job to write, he can copy and paste another person's work because it is his job to write. Hmm... I think we call this a circular argument.

Finally, you threaten Jim for demanding that a journalist not plagiarize. I'd love to see you defend that one. "But officer, I had to pop him one. He was demanding on an online blog that a journalist do his job in an ethical manner. I mean, he was actually demanding that Lynds present information he gathered from Wikipedia in his own words. It just crossed the line."

For the record, I don't care that Lynds went to Wikipedia for this story. But what he did was plagiarism, which is unethical. It is that simple. I understand deadlines and heavy workloads. But journalists are professional writers and there is no excuse for stealing another person's work. Especially when all he had to do was state which passages from obtained verbatim from Wikipedia. It's not that hard.

And readers should be offended. Apparently, he thinks that his readership is too stupid to know the difference.

Anonymous said...

Anon from October 16, 2009 3:53 PM again,

Jim, what I'm saying is you are trying to create a contoversy where there really is not one. The writer put 'according to' I would venture to say that's enough and maybe it wasn't AP style but it seemed to me to be a little 350-400 word 1st person narrative on some local history that really nobody in Eastie knew about. Mike Barnicle took someone elses thoughts and words and made them his own (i.e. George Carlin). I can go into wikipedia right now and change that post 500 times between now and tomorrow so who is to say whose words they really are. In fact a know a good friend of Mr. Lynds who said John was up one night all night creating East Boston's wikitravel page because it was the only neighborhood not represented in Boston wikitravel link. I think that's someone who really loves this neighborhood. That's dedication Jim.
All you do Jim is sit on your high and mighty pedestal and criticize everyone.
In fact, Mr. Lynds wrote a story critical about how the Chamber blindly supports gaming at Suffolk Downs. It seems to line right up with your position yet you only refrence an editoral (by the editor) of his support of the track getting a license yet there seems to be various positions at the paper (like most papers) but you wouldn't know that by reading this blog. Just admit you want to bash the Times and Mr. Lynds for the sake of bashing.
Also, in the very same issue the Sugar story was in was a story about runway 14/32 (I believe you refrenced some study on this blog) yet you do not mention that. How come Jim? That article seemed to fit right in with what you've been saying (and yes it was a story by Mr. Lynds). So it seems to me that 99.9% of the time you agree with Mr. Lynds and the Times and find no fault but then there that 0.01% every once in while you attack and then paint the paper as worthless. Really you should get over it.
I've seen worse papers and this paper is a 500% improvement from whenLou Torrone owned it and ran press releases with by lines on it like he wrote them.

Jim said...

In response to Anonymous at 7:21 pm:

The issue is not whether this practice follows AP style, but rather whether cutting and pasting from another source and slapping one's name on it is ethical. I am not trying to "create a controversy," but rather making an observation.

The use of the phrase "according to" that you reference DOES NOT occur before the lifted paragraphs, nor does any mention of Wikipedia, which is the source. How is that OK?

If the Times believes this is acceptable, then why is the article in question missing from the stories posted on their site (at least at this moment) at eastietimes.com? I'd guess they're a bit embarrassed by this.

I have no doubt that Mr. Lynds loves East Boston, and I laud his contributions to a Wikitravel page for the neighborhood (although a check of the history seems to indicate that someone from the neighborhood first contributed in March of 2008, some three years after the page was created). Would it, therefore, impress you to know that I actually created the Wikipedia page for East Boston in September of 2003? I did, and you can verify that by looking at the history there (where you will find my name AND an IP address that, if you click on it, will show you my name).

Sure, sometimes I agree with the Times and sometimes I don't, but I don't blog about that every week. I do write when I think there is something particularly interesting or disturbing or funny or odd that catches my attention anywhere.

And, by the way, you might recognize that the Times lead story this week -- the one you mentioned, on Runway 14/32 -- seems to have originated with my blog entry six days earlier. I took a small story on Boston.com and checked the numbers now and before the runway and reached a conclusion, which I wrote about. Story ideas come from all over, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the words of others must be properly credited. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

From wikipedia, (but if you read below I really don't even need to say that).

One of the most important aspects of Wikipedia is that its text may be freely redistributed, reused and built upon by anyone,

Contributors agree to release their original content under both licenses when they submit it.

So wikipedia is basically saying you can freely use Wikipedia content withoug citing wikipedia because the author(s) of entries give up copyright rights not to wikipedia but to the general public.
So out of the 10-15 paragraphs in the story, 3-4 were using info (historical info I might add Jim not ideas or opinions on that info just straight facts) is so insignificant it's laughable.

Jim this is so stupid.

You obviously want your old job back at the Times.

By the way Jim the Times usually only posts front page stories and editorials on thier website. I beleive you know that!

Anonymous said...

Jim, why don't you tell everyone how you take $10,000 of the tax payers money per year to be Sal LaMattina's press secretary and yet John Lynds writes all the stories about Sal. Oh! waite are you going to tell us Mr. Lynds plagiarized all those stories from you.
Exactly what do you do for the $10,000. I bet Mr. Lynds has never recieved a press release from you.
Explain that one Jim!

Jim said...

I've always been open about my work for Councilor LaMattina. It's no secret, though it's an exaggeration to call me his press secretary.

Anonymous said...

You know Jim, you get all prolific when it comes to defending your original argument but you just glossed over two posts that called you out with one sentence.
What exactly do you do for Sal because you are paid to do press right?
Also, the post straight from wikipedia says you don't have to cite wikipedia as long as the entry wasn't taken directly from another source.

Jim said...

The Wikipedia site says the following:

"Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed if and only if the copied version is made available on the same terms to others and acknowledgment of the authors of the Wikipedia article used is included (a link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement..."

It doesn't seem to me that the material's use in this instance follows those guidelines. Further, what you are missing is that even if material is freely acquired by a reporter the source must be noted. That is the accepted protocol.

Anonymous said...

By Donna Shaw
Donna Shaw (shaw@tcnj.edu) is an AJR contributing writer.

When the Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story in September about construction cranes, it noted that they were invented by ancient Greeks and powered by men and donkeys.

Michigan's Flint Journal recently traced the origins of fantasy football to 1962, and to three people connected to the Oakland Raiders.

And when the Arizona Republic profiled a controversial local congressman in August, it concluded that his background was "unclear."

What all three had in common was one of the sources they cited: Wikipedia, the popular, reader-written and -edited online encyclopedia. Dismissed by traditional journalism as a gimmicky source of faux information almost since it debuted in 2001, Wikipedia may be gaining some cautious converts as it works its way into the mainstream, albeit more as a road map to information than as a source to cite. While "according to Wikipedia" attributions do crop up, they are relatively rare.

To be sure, many Wikipedia citations probably sneak into print simply because editors don't catch them. Other times, the reference is tongue-in-cheek: The Wall Street Journal, for example, cited Wikipedia as a source for an item on "turducken" (a bizarre concoction in which a chicken is stuffed into a duck that is stuffed into a turkey) in a subscriber e-mail update just before Thanksgiving. In the e-mail, the Journal reporter wrote that some of his information was "courtesy of Wikipedia's highly informative turducken entry. As my hero Dave Barry says, 'I'm not making this up. Although, I'll admit that somebody on Wikipedia might have.'"

And when Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief John Huey was asked how his staffers made sure their stories were correct, he jokingly responded, "Wikipedia."

It's unclear if many newsrooms have formal policies banning Wikipedia attribution in their stories, but many have informal ones. At the Philadelphia Inquirer, which cited Wikipedia in an article about the death of television personality Tom Snyder last July, Managing Editor Mike Leary recently sent an e-mail to staff members reminding them they are never to use Wikipedia "to verify facts or to augment information in a story." A news database search indicates that "according to Wikipedia" mentions are few and far between in U.S. papers, and are found most frequently in opinion columns, letters to the editor and feature stories. They also turn up occasionally in graphics and information boxes.

Such caution is understandable, as for all its enticements, Wikipedia is maddeningly uneven. It can be impressive in one entry (the one on the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal includes 138 endnotes, 18 references and seven external links) and sloppy in another (it misspells the name of AJR's editor). Its topics range from the weighty (the Darfur conflict) to the inconsequential (a list of all episodes of the TV series "Canada's Worst Handyman"). Its talk pages can include sophisticated discussions of whether fluorescent light bulbs will cause significant mercury pollution or silly minutiae like the real birth date of Paris Hilton's Chihuahua. Some of its commentary is remarkable but some contributors are comically dense, like the person who demanded proof that 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift wasn't serious when he wrote that landlords should eat the children of their impoverished Irish tenants.

Hubble Smith, the Review-Journal business reporter who wrote the crane story, says he was simply looking for background on construction cranes for a feature on the Las Vegas building boom when the Wikipedia entry popped up during a search. It was among the most interesting information he found, so he used it. But after his story went to the desk, a copy editor flagged it.

"He said, 'Do you realize that Wikipedia is just made up of people who contribute all of this?'" Smith recalls. "I had never used it before." The reference was checked and allowed to remain in the story.

Anonymous said...

Interesting little story from AJR. Seems more reporters are using wikipedia and not sourcing it than you might think Jimbo.
I find it facinating that it says it used very little in newspapers except in 'feature' stories. I'm assuming reporters use it for background info in feature stories. Hey, sort of like John Lynds did.

Jim said...

The comment at 11:39 pm lists a legitimate concern regarding the use of factual information from Wikipedia: it's sometimes wrong. The story doesn't address cutting and pasting from Wikipedia, which is clearly inappropriate.

Here is a Q&A from the Poynter Institute, a journalism school:

Q. The other day I read a story in a local paper that had a suspicious paragraph. I Googled it, and came upon the exact same wording on a Wikipedia page. Is that plagiarism if you don't attribute it? I say it is. Apparently, when I reported it to the editor, it was ignored. I'm just looking for your thoughts on whether this is plagiarism, and on Wikipedia in general.

A. Plagiarism is presenting another's work as your own. It is wrong. Every schoolchild knows this and so does every journalist. Journalists who claim someone else's work as their own risk their careers. It can be occupational suicide. Editors who ignore it can jeopardize their publication's credibility.

Here, from material at various online sites, is how some newspapers have dealt with the issue:

“In January 2007, Jacqueline Gonzalez, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, resigned after admitting she used, without attribution, information from Wikipedia, a free Internet encyclopedia, for a Christmas Day column.”

“Reporter Tim Ryan was fired after reports of plagiarism surfaced on national and local web sites. In one instance, an editor for Wikipedia found several paragraphs in a Ryan review of a History Channel documentary, 'were strikingly similar to the text of the Wikipedia article' on the program.”

Look, I really don't have an ax to grind, but I won't keep quiet just because some comments (possibly all by the same person) resort to personal attacks. The truth is the truth; I'm not always right, but on this matter there's really no rational argument in opposition.

I'm not sure why the local weekly believes it is above reproach. Big daily newspapers publish corrections every day. We're all fallible.

I really debated not posted this, but in the end I just felt it was such an egregious action that I couldn't let it pass. I don't want to trash any one individual and the more comments that I feel forced to respond to, the more that this is unavoidable.

Jim said...

To the 12:00 mid comment:

It WAS NOT background information. It was CUT and PASTED.

JohnW said...

This thread is beginning to read like a conversation with a refrigerator. The Donna Shaw posting seemed fairly comprehensive on the topic in general. As far as John Lynds, people seem to have their opinions made and it can't be changed. Can we move on to something else now?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is time to move on yet...too many people siding against Jim and I feel he should hear from at least one more defender. Stay strong Jim. I have to say I was quite shocked that so many people think that copying other people's work without crediting them isn't cheating. Of course it is. I think quoting wikipedia is pretty lazy, but not crediting wikipedia is about as bad as a paper can do...even a community paper. People who don't expect their community newspaper to have any standards aren't doing the people there any favors. None of the comments in defense of the paper make any sense to me. I'm sure they do to the people who write them. As JohnW states, people have already made up their minds, so rebutting them is a waste of time, but Jim I just wanted you to know that there is at least one more person who agrees that what you pointed out about the paper is quite shocking, wrong and not over the top to mention on your own blog.

Jim said...

Don't be fooled by the number of comments that disagree with me. No telling how few people are actually behind them, but most of them sound quite similar.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the same could be said about the number of comments defending you too Jim...but I digress.

Jim said...

That's a fair point. All I can tell you -- and it's up to people to decide whether they believe me or not -- is that I only post under my name.

Anonymous said...

Oh! So you must use a pseudonym to send press releases on behalf of Sal LaMattina to the Times, Charlestown Bridge and Regional Review papers?
Oh yeah, that's right Jim, you don't send press releases to them. So exactly why does Sal and the tax payers of Boston pay you a $10,000 a year salary to do press for his office?

Jim said...

Ask him at lunch this week.

Anonymous said...

Good job taking everything out of context again to prove your misguided point. If you read Reporter Tim Ryan's articles and why he was fired he was a habitual plagiarist who did not even attempt to quote or attribute sources and, in one case, lifted an entire interview and passed it off as his own. Your mention of him and comparing him to Mr. Lynds' story in unfair and trivial.
I think the real question is the intent.
Mr. Ryan intended to have people believe the stories he was writing were his stories and words. I think Mr. Lynds never attempted this and does say 'according to'. I've read the wikipedia entry and the link to Sumner's book and they are basically one in the same. So perhaps he was merely passing it off like he read Sumner's book for the info to appear more educated on the matter. (As I'm sure you have not read that listed of books you post each week).
In the end if an editors note at the bottom of a story says 'some info was taken from wikipedia or Sumner's book' is enough in Journalism (this is what the editor's ended up doing in the Ryan case) isn't it more honest in the middle of a story to say 'according to' before putting forward a few paragraphs of history from Sumner, wikipedia or where ever?
I mean, to just put an editor's note does not in any way signal what parts were lifted so the idea you would even suggest Mr. Ryan's case without giving your readers a full view and what the editor's did is disingenuous. Because, in my opinion, Mr. Lynds did more than what the editors in Mr. Ryans case did and points to the section by using 'according to' as signaling that the wrids that followed were not his own.

Jim said...

I don't believe that plagiarism is a "misguided point." I used examples I found online to demonstrate that most journalists and publications understand that cutting and pasting is not journalistically ethical. Sure, it happens, but when it does there are often consequences. Usually it's just an apology and a commitment not to do it again. Until now I've never seen anyone defend such actions.

Look, I pointed this out because I thought it was egregious, but I didn't intend to dwell on it. Like I said, however, I'll keep responding to comments that keep the debate alive.

But I'm really insulted at the accusation that i haven't read the books listed on the blog. Quiz me!

Anonymous said...

To Jim, i'm an avid blogger of your blog. Please tell me that you don't work for Sal and is it true you get paid 10k year? Please clarify for me

Jim said...

I've written a half-dozen times here that I do work part-time for Councilor LaMattina. He's never mentioned the blog to me. If you think this skews my point of view then that's your opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ok- From an outside perspective it appears that there are many issues that are being discussed here. I find the discussions pretty fascinating because of the many themes I am reading about. a) Politics - how entrenched is the local newspaper; Jimbo's affiliation with local Politian; b) Ethics - plagiarism; How to interpret right vs. wrong; c) Personal vendetta's - Jimbo vs. Lynd; Jimbo vs. Times; Lynd/Times/Political Rogues vs. Mason;

If the original blog was about plagiarism - which I believe it was. Then I haven't read and argument that I believe out weights Jimbo’s origin point - Plagiarism is unethical.

Here is something to think about. A whistle blower tells the SEC about a pyramid scheme on Wall St. It’s ignored. As a result, people & foundations lose millions of dollars. People wonder how this happened. Why didn’t anyone stop it from happening. Just read the blog...it highlights the same type of thinking. That grey areas appear to exist and thus it’s ok to ignore it. But in the long run, it’s going to weaken a local papers integrity - which is easily lost then gained.

Jim said...

I don't believe that I have a vendetta against anyone or any group. Can't I express an opinion without it being construed as being based on anything except the facts?

Anonymous said...

'Cause Jim's to Chicken Sh&% to post it;

The Times Story;

By John Lynds

So there I was at a local cafĂ© about to enjoy a strong cup of coffee when I faced with my usual conundrum—do I use the little brown packet of sugar in the raw or the familiar white packet of processed granulated sugar?
I reached for the brown packet when all of a sudden a member of my party asked what I was doing.
“Putting a sugar in my coffee,” I replied curiously.
“I’m surprised you’re not using the granulated sugar,” he said. “That’s all.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because, as I’m sure you are aware, granulated sugar was invented in East Boston.
Priding myself on being a coinsure of ‘all things Eastie’ I said ‘get out of here’.
“Fine, don’t believe me, look it up when you go home,” he suggested.
That’s exactly what I did.
I went home and opened my copy pf William Sumner’s History of East Boston and there it was in Chapter 18 after a few pages explaining the East Boston Timber Co. was a section on the The Boston Sugar Refinery (BSR)
The BSR, Sumner explained, was started in 1834 and is credited as the first refinery to create granular sugar.
“My God!”, I exclaimed to no one in particular. For years I’ve been putting it in my coffee, using in recipes and fumbling around in my car’s center consol looking for the little white packets whenever Dunkin Donuts doesn’t make my coffee sweet enough.
And this whole time I was unable to hold this little tidbit of information over anyone’s head but it was held over mine!
I felt betrayed that this was never taught in the 12 years I went to school in this neighborhood.
However, according to Sumner, the BSR was the first manufacturing business to set up shop in Eastie.
The eight story brick building was built on Lewis Street from Sumner to Marginal Street on a two hundred and twenty square foot location purchased from the East Boston Wharf Company. Starting in 1834 it took two years to construct. The main operation was initially run by a twenty five horse power steam engine and they employed eighty employees refining twenty five thousand boxes of sugar annually In 1846 Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record listed the refinery as employing one hundred persons refining eight million pounds of sugar a year and using three thousand tons of coal to do so. Sugar refining required a great amount of coal and water – coal was shipped in but water was a consistent issue. The refinery dug many wells throughout East Boston to keep up the supply that they need to continue production.
And like the airport that followed, the refinery's burning of coal caused an unpleasant smell and certain level of pollution that made residents wary of the plant.
"The stench from this source was such that the people in the neighborhood were obliged to keep the windows of their houses closed, even in the hottest of weather," Sumner, A History of East Boston, Chapter 18, page 682.
By 1852 they were refining seven million pounds annually and an upgrade to the machinery in 1852 allowed them to increased to twenty five million pounds and employ two hundred persons by 1854.
In 1887, the BSR joined the Sugar Trust and together with other refiners seized on the benefits of Tariffs levied on foreign competition as they had seen done in the oil industry. Through this trust 98 percent of the U.S. sugar market was controlled. The trust was brought to court.
The government decided to sue in Pennsylvania federal court, alleging that the combinations were designed to restrain trade and create a monopoly in the sale and manufacturing of sugar. But the lower court didn't agree and the government appealed up to the Supreme Court.
This was the first prosecution brought in front of the Supreme court under the Sherman Antitrust Act.
So that's the scoop on refined granular sugar, and America has been hooked ever since.
You learn something new everyday.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia;

The Boston Sugar Refinery was started in 1834 and is credited as the first refinery to create granulated sugar.[1] It was the first manufacturing business to set up shop in East Boston. Since sugar refining was a specialized process and required special machinery and knowledge John Brown traveled to London and procured plans for the building and Machinery there. The eight story brick building was built on Lewis Street from Sumner to Marginal street on two hundred and twenty square foot location purchased from the East Boston Wharf Company. Starting in 1834 it took two years to construct. The main operation was initially run by a twenty five horse power steam engine and they employed eighty employees refining twenty five thousand boxes annually[2]. In 1846 Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record listed the refinery as employing one hundred persons refining eight million pounds of sugar a year and using three thousand tons of coal to do so[3]. Sugar refining required a great amount of coal and water – coal was shipped in but water was a consistent issue. The refinery dug many wells throughout East Boston to keep up the supply that they need to continue production. By 1852 they were refining seven million pounds annually and an upgrade to the machinery in 1852 allowed them to increased to twenty five million pounds and employ two hundred persons by 1854.[4]

Anonymous said...

Good for you John Lynds, looks like Jim was called out on this one and yet he hasn't responded. I like when someone stands up for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ethics, how can someone work for a city councilor, gets paid 10k a year(part time)and yet isn't biased towards him?
Jim, do the right thing and resign. this should also be a story for the eastie times to investigate

Jim said...

Huh? Here is the relevant Times passage, with an ellipsis where Sumner's book is referenced regarding the odor:

The eight story brick building was built on Lewis Street from Sumner to Marginal Street on a two hundred and twenty square foot location purchased from the East Boston Wharf Company. Starting in 1834 it took two years to construct. The main operation was initially run by a twenty five horse power steam engine and they employed eighty employees refining twenty five thousand boxes of sugar annually In 1846 Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record listed the refinery as employing one hundred persons refining eight million pounds of sugar a year and using three thousand tons of coal to do so. Sugar refining required a great amount of coal and water – coal was shipped in but water was a consistent issue. The refinery dug many wells throughout East Boston to keep up the supply that they need to continue production.

By 1852 they were refining seven million pounds annually and an upgrade to the machinery in 1852 allowed them to increased to twenty five million pounds and employ two hundred persons by 1854.
In 1887, the BSR joined the Sugar Trust and together with other refiners seized on the benefits of Tariffs levied on foreign competition as they had seen done in the oil industry. Through this trust 98 percent of the U.S. sugar market was controlled. The trust was brought to court.
The government decided to sue in Pennsylvania federal court, alleging that the combinations were designed to restrain trade and create a monopoly in the sale and manufacturing of sugar. But the lower court didn't agree and the government appealed up to the Supreme Court.
This was the first prosecution brought in front of the Supreme court under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

And this is from Wikipedia:

The eight story brick building was built on Lewis Street from Sumner to Marginal street on two hundred and twenty square foot location purchased from the East Boston Wharf Company. Starting in 1834 it took two years to construct. The main operation was initially run by a twenty five horse power steam engine and they employed eighty employees refining twenty five thousand boxes annually[2]. In 1846 Fisher's National Magazine and Industrial Record listed the refinery as employing one hundred persons refining eight million pounds of sugar a year and using three thousand tons of coal to do so[3]. Sugar refining required a great amount of coal and water – coal was shipped in but water was a consistent issue. The refinery dug many wells throughout East Boston to keep up the supply that they need to continue production. By 1852 they were refining seven million pounds annually and an upgrade to the machinery in 1852 allowed them to increased to twenty five million pounds and employ two hundred persons by 1854.[4]
The Boston Sugar Refinery became a part of the Sugar Trust in 1887[5]. The sugar refiners seized on the benefits of Tariffs levied on foreign competition as they had seen done in the oil industry. Through this trust 98 percent of the US sugar market was controlled. The trust was brought to court.
The government decided to sue in Pennsylvania federal court, alleging that the combinations were designed to restrain trade and create a monopoly in the sale and manufacturing of sugar. But the lower court didn't agree and the government appealed up to the Supreme Court [6].
This was the first prosecution brought in front of the Supreme court under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Seems to prove my point, no?

Jim said...

Where's the ethical dilemma? This is a blog. I'm not masquerading as an unbiased reporter. I'm shooting my mouth off whenever I feel like it. And, I might add, allowing others to shoot their mouths off without, in most cases, censoring them -- even when they are critical of me.

Anonymous said...

To Jim,
Thats why this blog is awesome. I hope you don't change anything.

Anonymous said...

Me too...except I would like to see less Joe Mason and Mary B rants...other than that I think this Blog rocks. Keep up the good work Jimbo - and lets really work on those T Shirts - I think they would be a great hit!

Anonymous said...

I agree with another post where they said to open a jimbo Blog store.
The only problem we have is having Mason's rants and raves about non sense because most of the time he makes no sense. This is a great, informative blog!!!