Runner’s World lifted content from CSNPhilly but went back to add attribution after readers raised questions.
Awful Announcing labeled Runner’s World‘s use of the CSN Philly website “appalling” and “blatant,” providing side-by-side comparisons showing that the Runner’s World article copied and pasted significant chunks of content from CSN Philly.
“It’s supposed to be a light-hearted faux Q&A with a cranky person who hates runners,” Awful Announcing wrote. “It’s a funny and clever idea with just one caveat – it came entirely from somewhere else.”
CSN Philly’s The 700 Level’s May 1 article was headlined: “A message to runners everywhere: shutttttt uppppppp”
Runner’s World‘s May 6 article is titled: “Ask a Guy Who Thinks Runners Should Shut Up.” A side-by-side comparison of text:
- CSN Philly’s May 1 article: “Oh, you’re running a 10-miler this weekend? That’s sooooooooo interesting. Can’t wait to see you bing-bonging down Broad Street with your rock-hard jawline, pressing the buttons on your digital watch: beep beep boop boop beep beep beep! Tell us again what kind of yogurt you eat. Tell us again how we’re all going to die from congestive heart failure. Oh holy runner who art thou, oh ye who wears lightweight Brooks™ running sneaks, please, please, please tell us more about your breathable mesh socks.”
- Runner’s World’s May 6 article: “Oh, you’re running a 10-miler this weekend? That’s sooooooooo interesting. Can’t wait to see you bing-bonging down Broad Street with your rock-hard jawline, pressing the buttons on your digital watch: beep beep boop boop beep beep beep! Tell us again what kind of yogurt you eat. Tell us again how we’re all going to die from congestive heart failure. Oh holy runner who art thou, oh ye who wears lightweight Brooks™ running sneaks, please, please, please tell us more about your breathable mesh socks. “
Runner’s World added a link in its article with a note that it was “written in response to an article posted on CSN Philly.”
— Runner’s World (@runnersworld) May 6, 2015
“Runner’s World seems content to frame this as a ‘response’ even though The 700 Level was never mentioned by name anywhere in the original piece,” Awful Announcing wrote.
Runner’s World then added an editor’s note to the article that reads:
“Editor’s note: This satirical column was written by Mark Remy in response to an article that was published last week on csnphilly.com. This column appropriated parts of the original article, to imagine how someone would use questions unrelated to running to mock runners. The first version of this column included a link to the original article. The column has been updated to emphasize it was written in response to the csnphilly article.”
Runner’s World site director Chris Kraft told iMediaEthics by e-mail that the article in question was intended to be a “parody of the 700 Level story” and argued that Remy’s World’s audience was mostly aware of the 700 Level piece. “Many of his regular readers were already familiar with the 700 Level piece and did understand the author’s intent at parody,” Runner’s World told iMediaEthics by e-mail.
“Mark Remy’s original column always included a link to the article on the 700 Level blog. This is an important point – and one we wish to emphasize. Because the 700 Level piece was so familiar to the community that RunnersWorld.com serves, having made the rounds on social media, it was assumed that the subtlety of the original attribution was enough for people to understand The Onion-style tone Mark attempted to create. When that turned out not to be the case for some readers, we added the editor’s note with additional layers of attribution.”
Runner’s World said the article was vetted before publication and defended the Runner’s World writer. “Mark has a deservedly strong reputation as a journalist, and we stand behind him,” Runner’s World‘s Kraft said.
Mark Remy, the author of the Runner’s World story, denied having “stolen anything” in a post on Facebook. “Plagiarism is just about the nastiest smear you can have hurled your way,” he commented.
“I could delve into the particulars of yesterday’s column – e.g., how it came to be, why I chose to include the attribution the way I did, why my editors and I decided to make that atttribution WAY more apparent the moment we realized it wasn’t ‘working’ the way I’d intended – but I won’t,” Remy wrote. “I have a hunch that those who need most to understand this have zero interest in actually understanding. Which leads me to the second thing…”
Then he wrote that he has received a lot of “angry, ugly, vile remarks” from people.
Below see his full post.
For its part, the 700 Level tweeted and re-tweeted about the article theft.
— The Evster (@TVMWW) May 6, 2015
— The700Level (@The700Level) May 6, 2015
Life is so boring on days when major running publications are not stealing your shit.
— The Evster (@TVMWW) May 7, 2015
The 700 Level writer simply wrote, “I just can’t get over the fact that there’s an entire magazine devoted to running.”
CLARIFICATION: 5/29/2015 4:38 PM EST Runner’s World e-mailed iMediaEthics to say that it decided to add the editor’s note and clear attributions after reading readers’ comments and said that it didn’t see the Awful Announcing post until later.