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Arch Daily executive editor David Basulto wrote a "message to our readers" explaining the background of plagiarism charges against the site, and why the site unpublished. (Credit: Arch Daily, screenshot)

As iMediaEthics wrote briefly last week, an architecture news site, Architecture Record, accused  fellow architecture news site Arch Daily of lifting content.  The story in question has been removed from Arch Daily’s website, so we wrote to Arch Daily to learn why and find out more about the plagiarism charges.

Arch Daily’s executive editor David Basulto responded and told iMediaEthics via e-mail that the site did publish a report that was “based on” an article by Architecture Record’s Jenna McKnight.  Basulto stated that the article wasn’t “a copy/paste, but the ideas and quotes were taken from hers.”  McKnight’s Sept. 19 blogpost accusing Arch Daily of plagiarism described the Arch Daily post of being essentially a direct lift of her story minus “a few minor modifications.”  McKnight noted that Arch Daily also published Architecture Record’s photos, which were attributed to Architecture Record.

Basulto noted that while Arch Daily did link to Architectural Record, “we weren’t explicit that this was Jenna’s article and thoughts, a huge mistake from our part and for that we are deeply sorry.”  He expressed sympathy with McKnight’s “frustration,” noting that Arch Daily has had to deal with other sites “constantly scrapping and reproducing our content and images.”

Basulto noted that he apologized to McKnight and added that:

“Our mission at ArchDaily is to make architectural knowledge available to architects around the world. We cite (and properly credit and link) a few articles from other sources we respect (such as ArchRecord) that we think our readers will find interesting, driving traffic to the original source, while producing a lot of high quality content ourselves. We will continue to do so, using the best practices and rules of fair use.”

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Basulto published an apology notice to readers Sept. 27, which he also sent to StinkyJournalism. The letter to readers explains the background of the incident and in part, reads:

“On September 18th, we featured a story titled ‘Harlem’s New Renaissance’. The article was taken from Jenna McKnight’s article ‘Harlem’s New Renaissance’ featured on Arch Record on August 25th. ArchDaily’s article written by Irina Vinnitskaya took the ideas proposed by Jenna and several of the quotes and information she used, accompanied by a link back to Architectural Record and photography credits, but failed to properly credit the person who came up with the original story idea, Jenna McKnight. Our mistake, a big one.”

He noted that he wasn’t able to immediately address McKnight’s Sept. 19 complaints because he was traveling but that he did unpublish the story and apologize to McKnight.  McKnight added: “I hope that this doesn’t affect our relation with Arch Record, as we are both voices of the architecture world.”  Further, Basulto noted that Arch Record “syndicates our content on their site and includes links” to Arch Daily, but “stopped doing this as of last week.”

Read Basulto’s full “message to our readers” here.

iMediaEthics wrote to Architecture Record’s Jenna McKnight for more information this past weekend and will update with any response.

CORRECTION - September 28, 2011 07:25 AM

The name of the magazine and website accusing Arch Daily of plagiarism is Architectural Record, not Architecture Record.Also, this quote — “I hope that this doesn’t affect our relation with Arch Record, as we are both voices of the architecture world” — was incorrectly attributed to Jenna McKnight. The comment was made by David Basulto. We regret the errors.

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Arch Daily Responds to Plagiarism Charges from Architecture Record

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