Hockey blog accuses Toronto Sun of plagiarism

The Toronto Sun has been accused of plagiarizing a Maple Leaf blog’s translation of an article written in Czech.

UPDATE: Toronto Sun editor-in-chief James Wallace has written a reply to the accusation.

Earlier this week, J-Source ethics editor Ivor Shapiro questions the traditional coyness of some Canadian newspapers when it comes to naming the competition. 

The Pension Plan Puppets (PPP) allege that the Sun used their translated version of the Czech article and did not credit them. The Sun, which wrote a story with translated quotes from the same Czech article, claims that their reporter translated the article himself using Google Translate.

The Pension Plan Puppets posted an email exchange between Elie Aintabi and Toronto Sun editor James Wallace:

    From: James Wallace
    To: Elie Aintabi

    Plagiarism is a serious charge but it’s not clear from your email whether you grasp the concept as it applies to journalism. Since you haven’t told me which specific paragraphs give you trouble, I’ll respond generally.

    Fuller credited the source magazine (Czech hockey magazine Hokej) for the quotes used in our article. While he read the translated article first on the pensionplanpuppets website, he checked the original article and quotes thorough Google Translate. Attributing quotes to another source is not plagiarism.

    We gather information from a variety of sources, including blogs, tweet, etc. Newspapers are not websites. We don’t credit links.  The Czech magazine and it’s writer are the originating source of the news and thus deserve credit – not you or your website.

    I hope this clarifies things.

PPP blogger “Chemmy” writes: “To be clear I agree with Mr. Wallace’s principle of not crediting links. Had we simply linked to a Czech hockey magazine’s article and Mr. Fuller [had] seen that article and expanded on it I would not expect our site to be credited. This isn’t what happened however.The Sun used our translation for their own benefit and Mr. Wallace is doing as much damage control as he can.”

Hockey blog Hockey Wilderness came to PPP‘s defense:

“First off, why does PPP care? I am not them, but I can put myself in their shoes. They care because someone did them a huge favor, translating an entire article…for the readers of PPP. The article is of no use to 99.9999% of Leafs nation if it is not translated. The people who read the original Czech article are the only people who would know the story. Leafs fans, who have a huge buy in, would never get the information.”

Hockey Wilderness‘ “BReynolds” says that other bloggers should care about this issue too.

He writes that “The biggest issue at hand is the chasm between the “new” media world of blogs and podcasts, and the traditional media of print, TV, and radio.” He notes that while some “bridge builders” are blurring the lines and are successfully working with various mediums, the traditional media world tends to discredit the new world completely – to their own detriment. Reynolds writes:

“Bloggers are denied access because they are ‘just a website.’ Bloggers are treated as nearly sub-human by many major sports franchises, and by the traditional media. Bloggers are told that they have no ethics, have no accountability, and have no place in the press box.

“However, when a major newspaper such as the Sun takes work from a blog, it renders the argument of ethics invalid. Do we think for a second that the Sun and Mr. Fuller are not going to be issued credentials for this coming season? It is not even a question. He, and they, will be there.”