For the past three years, Angele Yanor has written a mediocre relationship column in The Vancouver Sun. I rarely read it, and when I did I was unimpressed with the writing quality and content. It seemed to me like a lame attempt to exploit the chick-lit fad of Sex in the City.
It turns out that Ms. Yanor had plagiarized at least two of her columns (according to the radio report on the CBC) from the New York Times. An investigation is ongoing as to the extent of her copying, and the editor-in-chief of the Sun was heard on the CBC bemoaning the amount of work the cross-checking involved (surely there’s a cheap and easy technological solution to that problem).
I may have judged her column prematurely. If she indeed lifted a lot of content from the Times, the quality must be better than I thought. On her site, Ms. Yanor rather laughably argues that she “never called herself a journalist”. Ah, well, so long as you publish regularly in a major newspaper but don’t profess to be a journalist, ethical considerations don’t apply. Is she aware of the irony that the bottom of her blog page reads “content may only be published with prior written consent”? There’s no indication of actual copyright, so the text’s origin may be up for grabs.
Here’s a tip for all you budding plagiarists out there: if you’re going to copy verbatim from another newspaper, don’t pick the most popular one on the planet. She was writing about relationships, after all. Surely there are a million and one other adequately-written columns that she could have raided.