Dealbreaker Set a Plagiarism Trap That Snared Times‘ Kouwe

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Blogger beware; Dealbreaker will break you. A New York Times Public Editor column published Saturday reveals a Dealbreaker set a booby trap for would-be plagiarists in a story on Citigroup, and Zachery Kouwe fell into it. From the Times:

In January, Dealbreaker, a competing Web site, scored a scoop by posting an internal Citigroup memo about a rumored joint venture. The same memo soon went up on DealBook, complete with two minor alterations that Dealbreaker had inserted as a trap to catch competitors ripping off material without credit.

Dealbreaker followed up with a post highlighting the DealBook foibles. The event was later revealed to be part of a pattern of plagiarism by DealBook reporter Zachery Kouwe, who resigned from the paper on Feb. 16.

The blogosphere is rife with copying and lifting of text. Failure to source news to other outlets is a common transgression. It’s encouraging to see Dealbreaker has begun to take action by arming its posts with anti-theft devices.

We came across this story by way of The Awl.