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|ePrairie and Technology Executives' Club caught in plagiarism scandal, by Ron May|
|ePrairie and Technology Executives' Club caught in plagiarism scandal, by |
Columnist Ben Apple has been removed from the ePrairie site after
presenting Fortune Magazine article as his own
I just got a call about a developing story involving ePrairie at about 6pm
last night. It appears that one of their regular weekly columnists, Ben
Apple, has been plagiarizing articles for some time. Ben has been writing
the InfoSec column for ePrairie. According to my source, Ben wrote at least
twenty articles for ePrairie. I had three conversations with the source and
have received three e-mails on this strange story. Here is the first e-mail.
Subj: Inclusion to The May Report - Ben Apple
Date: 1/29/2004 6:25:03 PM Central Standard Time
From: Name withheld upon request.
I hope your health continues to improve!
Thought you might enjoy a scoop, Ben Apple, one of ePrairie's regular weekly writers of the InfoSec column has been plagiarizing articles from major publications and with a few changes calling it his own.
Ben Apple is CEO of Chicago-based Management Solution Strategies. He has his CISSP certification and is a recognized instructor in IT security governance and IT security best practices. Apple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oddly enough, it appears that all of his stuff is gone from ePrairie's site in the last hour or so. Like he never existed. This seems to be a trait of Mr. Apple as his bio listed being with the super secret National Security Agency in 1970 but makes no mention of it on his resume.
Oh well they are all removed except a copy on a mailing list called InfoSec News which can be found at:
which shows an article done two days later from another article in this week's Fortune Magazine.
Ben Apple did write for ePrairie, do a search on Google for "Ben Apple" eprairie and you will find about 20 seperate articles now no longer there,
but enough about this has all gone missing.
Lets compare how similar these articles are for other local technology publications are.
are exactly alike, and then there is:
which looks amazingly similar to this: http://www.cica.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/16875/la_id/1.htm
This was one of the first of many that got us wondering about Mr. Apple
which looks alot like. http://www.csoonline.com/read/100103/counsel.html
Something else worth looking into is that Apple is a CISSP, a very respected security certificate for information security professionals, they have an intensive code of ethics to abide by, and are given credits for writing articles, you have to wonder if he is getting credit for other people's work?
Dig into this Ron, you might have the working of a great story, especially with all these viruses and worms going on right now, if you can't trust this "professional" makes you wonder who else you can't trust?
P.S. This account will expire in three weeks, I will check it every six hours if you need any other help or advice.
Ron May here again. Dig indeed. Here is a second and third note I received
Thursday night from the same source.
Subj: One more thing about sweeping things under the rug
Date: 1/29/2004 7:16:55 PM Central Standard Time
From: Name withheld upon request.
Cut and paste this into your browser.
19 separate articles of Apple's in ePrairie some of which are still cached and if you do sentence searches, you might find other articles that Apple ripped off.
But if you click on the articles not cached, they go to the ePrairie again without showing any mention of the article.
Subj: Time now for another security article by Ben Apple, err Steven Gnagni!!!
Date: 1/29/2004 10:52:43 PM Central Standard Time
From: Name withheld upon request.
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
(still up and running)
looks alot like.
Ron May here again. I will be looking into the following questions as this
Where has the editor of ePrairie, Adam Fendelman, been? How much quality
control is there at ePrairie? How long exactly has this been going on
before it was noticed? Why wasn't it noticed? Or were Adam, Brad and Josh
aware of it, but just decided not to take action?
Is it ethical to simply remove the articles without a full explanation and
proper warning to readers about what exactly has been plagiarized and what
has not? What is the industry standard in cases like this? Aren't those
articles already part of cyberspace and being used elsewhere? How can
taking down the original articles eliminate them from cyberspace? (This is
somewhat reminiscent of when Darcy took down a "Person of the Week" article
after finding out dirt on that person and also after being stiffed on
Isn't just removing the articles essentially a cover-up? Don't you have to
keep the articles and alert readers that they were plagiarized? After all,
these articles are now being referenced and used elsewhere. Also, how
honorable is it to just remove the articles as though they were never there?
The implications of something like this are pretty frightening for a small
publication that gets real advertising dollars from real companies. How do
ePrairie advertisers view this? How do their readers view it? Couldn't
something like this shut down the publication? Look what it did to the New
York Times. Should and could Adam Fendelman could be fired for failure to
perform his job? If making sure that something like this does not happen is
not his job, then what is it? Should and could Ben Apple end up out of
And what about Mr. Alex Jarett? Will the Technology Executives' Club admit
to the problem and take responsibility? Should Alex be in the newsletter
business when there is no quality control?
But there are broader questions. Isn't what ePrairie and the TEC does the
equivalent of payola? Aren't they essentially allowing people to use their
publications for their own agendas and advancement of their own careers.
Witness Barry Moltz and Liz Ryan who seem to be in the publicity business.
Haven't they effectively sold their content to outsiders who have their own
purposes? How is this different from fancy "infomercials"? Or the payola
that Clear Channel engages in? In one case I heard that Clear Channel has
renamed its weather and traffic reports so that they refer to Allstate
Stadium, not O'Hare Airport, which is a landmark everyone knows. But
Allstate Stadium? That is off of one of the runways at O'Hare but it
carries with it ad dollars. Or isn't it similar to what the Chicago
Sun-Times does by having PR people with their own businesses write
purported "news" columns? Isn't a lot of stuff passing for journalism that
is really not?
There are related issues as well. If plagiarism is out-and-out theft, what
about deep links? How ethical are they and remember that ePrairie is a news
Hasn't plagiarism and charges of it have permanently tarnished many an
author and publication? And what about the cover-up? Isn't that worse than
the original sin? Is this a defining moment for ePrairie as a journalistic
enterprise and for Josh Schneider (Metnick), Brad Spirrison, and Adam
Fendleman as individuals?
Stay tuned for more developments.