Wired magazine Editor Chris Anderson – known in PR circles not only for his role at the magazine – but also for his infamous PR “blacklist,” admitted this week to lifting many passages of his soon to be released book “Free” from Wikipedia. Virginia Quarterly Review first noticed the similarities, some of which were copied word for word.
Anderson’s explanation hinged mostly on a gray area involving the citation process for Wikipedia and he admitted that several passages were not cited. “That’s my screw-up and I totally take the blame for that,” he told The New York Times.
Jeremy Pepper, POP! PR Jots blogger and Manager, Public Relations at Boingo Wireless said Anderson did the “stand-up PR move – even if he black lists us. He took full responsibility for his actions, and did not pass the buck to anyone else. That speaks volumes, and while I think he should have won the fight with his editor (he’s write on the citations), he took the responsibility of his actions. It’s a rare trait in today’s world.”
Not everyone completely agrees. RLM PR CEO Richard Laermer told PRNewser, “…this mistake is, in my not humble opinion, fairly colossal-and common. Found research does not make a point. And I’m sure if we went further into the points Mr. Anderson made in his book we’d find a lot of other stuff that came from sources that were, yep, cut and pasted.”
We’re curious to hear your take on things. From a PR perspective, did Anderson handle this in the best manner?