Dear Desperate Journalists….

If imitation is the best form of flattery, then I guess we’re doing pretty well.

Every few days I stumble across something we wrote, word for word, with somebody else’s name on it. Mostly it’s Facebook notes and chain emails and cutesy adorable nonsense like people using our pictures without credit or something. And that’s kinda alright. I mean, if this were the US, I’d probably sue, but we’re in Kenya. Hakuna Matata and such.

But woe be you media houses who descendeth amongst our ranks and pick off our posts like we are slaves in the fields. I’m normally really calm and cool about this type of thing but your plagiarizing ways are getting out of pocket.

First, I heard about some random posts(plural) showing up in some newspapers and magazines earlier this year from our readers. I said nothing.

Then I saw the World Cup posts blatantly getting swiped by the Saturday Nation or something. Again, I said nothing.

Now it’s Black Sugar over at Capital FM taking a post I wrote and naming me Peter. Listen, broad. I don’t know you; I don’t want to. But clearly, you seem to know where to find us. The cordial thing to do, is to ask before you take a story about MY LIFE, for OUR BLOG and use it to get YOUR PAYCHECK .

And that goes for anybody anywhere who thinks they’ve got skill because they can copy paste and edit tenses. You see, unlike you, we don’t get paid for what we write. But we do work at it. Pretty damn hard. The whole DR Crew puts in more effort than some of you ‘digital media’ teams. Understand that we do it with a purpose. We are professionals. If you like our work so much, pay us for it. It’s really not that complicated.

Like I said before, I try hard not to get mad about petty things like this, but this may be the straw that’ll break this camel’s back. And I’m not a fan of backache. I’ve emailed the relevant parties and hope to get a response soon. The rest of you….stop stealing our shit.

This isn’t an attack at Capital or whoever. We don’t like drama around these parts. This is just a frustrated vents because, after all, what are blogs for?

That is all.

As you were.

Update(15th September): The folks at Capital have issued an apology and taken down the article. They were actually misled by the contributor into believing the work was legit. Now I’m just waiting for ‘Black Sugar’ to say something as it seems Capital has pled the 5th, and understandably so.

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24 thoughts on “Dear Desperate Journalists….

  1. Thank you for putting these “so called journalists” to shame. They should pay you for your hardwork or quit plagiarizing. Kenya or not, intellectual theft should not be tolerated. And while at it, these media houses should hire trained journalists or pay for their training. Are you listening, Nation, Standard and Capital? Diaporadical team deserves respect.

  2. Blatant shadiness this…if Black Sugar or anyone else for that matter is to display their unsurpassed fortitude in copy-pasting and condescendingly changing tenses, names and randomly interspersed snippets to kinda make it seem like its their story, they should at least give credit where credit is due.

    The immortal lyrics of the Maroon Commandos come to mind: “Uvivu ni adui mkubwa wa ujenzi wa taifa…”

  3. Kenyan journalistic standards have been in the crapper for a while. Between poor grammar, sheng in the mainstream, glaringly erroneous facts – even when copied from another source- and the juvenile headlines that usualy begin:
    ‘The Day…’
    ‘How Kenya got…’ UGH!!

    Then there is the Alex Ferguson interview that wasn’t and now of course we see blatant plagiarisation of your work.

    We need to style up and lift up our standard. Legal redress might also help keep these clowns in check, assuming of course that the legal system tries to work- I have little faith in that one too 😦

  4. Please, leme add my ‘shame on you’ rant. Phew! I once had my article stolen – word for word – by some shady publication. They did not even have the decency to give me credits. And no I was never compensated but I raised like hell threatening legal action. They folded after a couple of months. *sweet victory*

  5. No, you are not being petty.
    This is serious. Fight for what is yours. You worked hard at it and by jove it’s brilliant. I get a sour taste in my mouth whenever i see your articles in the paper with someone else’s name on them.

  6. being a journalist from one of the above mentioned companies, i am particularly regretful that some imbeciles like “black sugar” go forth and give us all a bad name.

    i feel your pain, before i took up the paying job, i would write just because i love it. the kick we gain from piecing up words and coming up with blogs like yours cannot be explained or compensated in monetary terms.

    and to see somebody just highlight, copy and paste your stuff and pass it off as their random thoughts is an insult to creativity and the premise of intellectual property.

    as some of your readers above have suggested, if you can, sue them!!!

  7. Look here – your article was posted for free in the internet. It obviously did not have any value, so you should be thankful that a REAL writer like Black Sugar deigned to not just read it but give it her stamp of approval by posting it as her own work. That my friend is worth a million times more than any money she might make off your puny work. *END OF SARCASM*

    Hit them where it hurts (the pocket) and hit them hard!!

  8. In February this year, I did an orbituary for my late mentor and friend Dr Ezekiel Alembi on my blog, and when I was on my way back to Nairobi, from burying Dr Alembi, in Bunyore, I saw an article in the Sunday Standard,which had so badly plagiarized my piece I felt like throwing myself out of the bus window. The author of the piece wrote that she was a fourth year Literature student from KU, and I wondered what they taught her there.
    At some point she pretended to quote me, and it actually came out as libel. The least she would have done was to acknowledge where she got the information from.

  9. You know what really hurts? It’s trying to convince these plagiarist yahoos that I am willing to write for them at a fee that matches my standard of writing, but they go ahead and pick some two-bit, uncreative writer whose willing to sell their soul just to write for a paper. I have been kicked out of every media house, my portfolio in tow just because I presented “different ideas that our average reader may not accommodate.”

    Now five years since attaining my Journalism BA degree, and then an MA in the same two years later, I still can’t write for these print and digital outlets that steal what we write on our blogs for free? That isn’t right, man.

    You Managing Editors and Senior Staff Writers keep giving us the finger when we come in for your silly interviews and puny salary offers. You don’t even bother to respond to our application letters. For what it’s worth, keep off our work. Sell your boring Crazy Monday pull outs and your dull DN2’s. Jam your Saturday magazines with your textbook relationship advice and overrated wedding claptrap, but keep off our work.

  10. To tell you the truth, I feel sorry for old school journalists – hacks that are a dying breed.

    For one, the punks really didn’t see the blogosphere coming to bitch slap them, and they still live in a world that doesn’t fathom the concept of citizen media.

    If you thought it was bad in mainstream media, you should join the sports media world; a place where hacks and pundits have the intelligence of a fence post. Now translate that to their writing and you begin to wonder if some of these people should actually be paid to stop writing.

    ICon – I hope you sue both Black Sugar and Capital FM. They can’t take the 5th on this one – she posted what she’d thieved on their property. That’s a clear cut case of the equivalent of handling stolen property – a felony offence in most criminal justice systems.

  11. Are there any laws against plagiarism NV? Just wondering!! Do they give an intro lecture in Uni about NOT plagiarizing? Utter lack of respect for professionalism…huge problem.

  12. walalalala! copyright infringement. Hope y’all get a nice fat settlement cheque. In any event, take heart in the knowledge that your blog is making waves and has a lot of admirers! (mimi number moja) 🙂

  13. Pingback: Demystifying Copyright and Intellectual Property in Kenya | Diasporadical

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