City Desk

Brightest Young Things Fires Serial Plagiarist Managing Editor

Brightest Young Things boss Svetlana Legetic didn't seem to get what the big deal was Tuesday when Logan Donaldson, her site's managing editor, was caught repeatedly plagiarizing articles, including large chunks of BYT's spring and summer music guide.

Legetic wrote in an email that she wouldn't ask Donaldson to resign, and lamented that the plagiarism coverage was overshadowing the positive aspects of the music guide.  "Glad we are always there for you guys on a slow news day," she wrote.

But now the co-founder of the culture website is taking a different tack. In news first reported by DCist, Legetic asked Donaldson to resign yesterday. "The staff member responsible for this and possibly some other content mis-appropriations is no longer working with us," Legetic says in a statement. She also apologized to the writers whose work was plagiarized by Donaldson, who didn't respond to a request for comment from City Desk.

Brightest Young Things has taken its pre-March 25, 2013 archives offline to conduct "an exhaustive internal audit" and prevent future plagiarism. Still, yesterday morning I was able to identify some more of Donaldson's plagiarized stories. So many of his stories appeared to contain plagiarized passages, I had planned to restrict my survey to Donaldson's posts from past three months. A favorite target of Donaldson's was Mashable, and at one point, he even plagiarized from a Reddit commenter.

Brightest Young Things has released a statement about Donaldson and the internal audit. Read it after the jump:

In the light of discoveries made on March 26th concerning the origin of certain elements of our content we would like to make the following statement:
BYT has always had a deep commitment to original and creative content from day one and the discovery of plagiarism on our website has deeply affected us. As (proud) producers of original content on a daily basis, we feel for, and would like to publicly apologize to the writers whose work was used without proper attribution. That, as well as a responsibility to our readers and partners, has led us to take the following steps:

  • The staff member responsible for this and possibly some other content mis-appropriations is no longer working with us, effective today, March 27th
  • We have unpublished our archives prior to March 25th and are performing an exhaustive internal audit to ensure this is not a repeated occurrence, as well as putting in place the necessary systems that this does not repeat itself in the future.

As a start up, unfortunately this is a growing pain we didn't anticipate.  However, we look forward to learning from this in order to put forth better original content and keep our readers as entertained and informed and awesome-at-life as ever (if not more).

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