Home > Ethics, Journalists in the news > Alberta “editor” continues to deny rampant plagiarism

Alberta “editor” continues to deny rampant plagiarism

March 27, 2012

Steve Jeffrey, the “editor” and publisher of Chestermere, Alta.’s The Anchor Weekly has told the St. John’s Telegram that he didn’t rip off three of their columnists and that he’s looking into how so many of their words, sentences and paragraphs ended up in columns bearing his name and mug. For a quick refresher, American humourist George Waters busted him yesterday on his blog.

Waters found that 42 of Jeffrey’s last 52 columns were ripped off from a baker’s dozen of North American columnists.

Today, the Telegram, for which three of those columnists write, published a news story under the understated headline “Alberta editor accused of plagiarism.” It begins:

Nearly four years ago, inspired by the fleeting Newfoundland summer, Telegram columnist Russell Wangersky wrote that he wouldn’t waste a beautiful day by worrying about bitterness and politics.

“We can look under every rock for how we’ve been wronged, for proof of the latest imagined betrayal, or we can make our own future, every single day,” wrote Wangersky in a column published July 5, 2008.

Last summer, an editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper in Alberta printed those exact 28 words — and the better part of every other sentence in Wangersky’s column — under his own name. It was one of 41 columns he is accused of plagiarizing over the past year.


Asked directly whether he stole others work, Jeffrey somehow managed to deny the charge: “I certainly have used other writers as inspiration, but I would say that I have not plagiarized anything,” he told the Telegram.

That left George Waters asking on his blog: “Have you no shame?” While Jeffrey, who runs The Anchor Weekly, removed back issues from his paper’s website yesterday, Waters had already saved a couple PDFs and posted them today for readers to compare to the original writers’ columns. Read his blog here.

All of this is disturbing and hilarious. One would hope that Jeffrey would pack it in, sell his paper and get the fuck out of the newspaper industry. Alas, he seems delusional. Too bad for his readers. But he shouldn’t be able to hold on for ever. If Jeffrey doesn’t fess up soon, I hope one of the writers sues him and puts his newspapering career out of its misery.

(I know I normally try to avoid directly impinging on other journalists’ work or motives, mostly because I’m anonymous. But the scale of the thievery is such that I harbour absolutely no sympathy for Jeffrey right now. If there’s a reason I should back off, leave a comment.)

[Update: I should have added that, according to The Telegram one of the columnists Jeffrey ripped off has complained to the Alberta Press Council. I should also have noted that Jeffrey outright lied to The Telegram about not being at his paper’s office Monday, when the back issues of the paper were taken offline. He admitted his lie only when contradicted by an employee.]

  1. March 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Jeffrey appears to be attempting the “Dean Del Mastro Defense” being used in the Robocall scandal. In the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing: Deny, deny, deny and hope it goes away.

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