D.C. culture blog Brightest Young Things caught plagiarizing

Emily White and I discovered the D.C. blog’s managing editor Logan Donaldson plagiarized from multiple websites and publications for blurbs featured in BYT’s Spring/Summer Music Guide 2013 published March 26 at 9 a.m.

Donaldson was credited with “-Logan” at the end of each blurb; 44 entries had his by-line before the plagiarism accusations. It is not clear if Donaldson plagiarized on all 44 paragraphs bearing his by-line.

The Washington City Paper picked up the story, crediting White and me for revealing the plagiarism. DCist also ran a story on the scandal, citing White and me.

The BYT post was updated multiple times. First, attributions on 18 blurbs initially credited to Donaldson were changed to source various publications and websites including Interview Magazine, The Telegraph, Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, Billboard, Sacredbonesrecords.com, KROQ, Sierra Club and even Wikipedia. The by-line read “curated and written by,” with Donaldson still listed first.

By the morning of March 27, the now-attributed, previously plagiarized blurbs were removed and replaced with an originally written sentence. The credit line now reads “All original words by,” with Donaldson listed fourth.

There is still no “correction,” “edited,” “updated,” “disclaimer,” “clarification” and any similar tag on the BYT guide.

For more details on how the scandal unfolded, please read my story on how White and I discovered the plagiarism and events unfolded. (Deleted tweets by Donaldson himself are featured.)

UPDATE: By 1 p.m. March 27, an editor’s note was added to the top of the BYT post. It reads:

Ed Note: This post has been updated to include only original content produced by BYT writers. Thank you for reading and your patience.

UPDATE: An 11:04 p.m. tweet from DCist associate editor Benjamin R. Freed, who wrote the earlier story on the scandal, said Donaldson has been dismissed, and BYT is investigating the extent of his plagiarism and temporarily taking down all posts that credit Donaldson.


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