More examples have turned up of suspicious copy in Live the Moment, a fortnightly Saturday column in the Star by contributor Dawn Jeremiah, about which allegations of plagiarism have been made. Besides last Saturday’s piece at least three previous articles appear to have been cobbled together using material apparently lifted from a variety of sources — including bits from a Columbia University professor’s erudite thoughts on friendship.
The article last Saturday was about buying an apartment, the second property article this year. Four months ago, she had allegedly written:
Disarming in its frankness, and one might say quite astonishingly perspicacious in a young broadcasting and marketing personality, aspiring actress and a former runner-up in the Miss Malaysia beauty contest. (She did once remark, though, that beauty contestants were much maligned purely on suspicion of a lack of substance in their noggins.)
More astonishingly, the very same thoughts — and the very same words — had appeared in a Yahoo article Seven Lessons I Had to Learn the Hard Way in July 2010.
But wait, there’s more…
Besides a leading role in Malaysia’s long-running real-life Law ‘N Order political drama, by almost being mugged, the columnist has written on a range of topics, dispensing much wisdom, some of it worthy of a Columbia University professor.
Thoughts on friendship, by the prof
Phillip Lopate — editor, essayist, novelist, poet and film critic — of Columbia University, who has written three books on the art of the personal essay, discussed Modern Friendships, in February 1988. A New York Times reviewer said “he has something refreshing for that generic essay subject”.
Prof Lopate remarked: “Is there anything left to say about friendship after so many great essayists have picked over the bones of the subject? Probably not.” Nevertheless he went on to observe:
Deep insights on friendship, by the beauty
Dawn Jeremiah’s column True friends are the ones who stand by you – no matter what in June 2012 had this to say:
Mr Lopate, in 1988, cites and quotes from Aristotle, Cicero, Montaigne and Emerson.
Miss Jeremiah, in June 2012, does not cite Mr Lopate.
But a Montaigne quotation did figure once, in the signature paragraph to a column of November 2011 that had the headline Let’s Not Be Hypocritical. The quote is about taking the measure of a man, in which Montaigne says to ignore the appertunances of greatness and “Measure his height with his stilts off”.
The measure of social climbers
What a professor said in July 2011 — Art Markman, quoted in Psychology Today – article written by Jill Coody Smits
Here’s the Dawn Jeremiah version, November 2011
Deep insights on job-hunting
Deep insights on resumés
Also seen in…
There are many lessons for journalists in all this, for editors who failed their task as gatekeepers, for executives caught in the corporate chase for the yuppie demographic segment, for the general pandering to the glitterati, and for the general professional failure to keep eyes on the ball. Taking an audit would not be amiss. A return to basic principles in work practices might also help.
Through it all, Miss Jeremiah has been constant in one regard. In that cloying, annoying, simpering, cutesy, signature required by the Star at the end of every column, Miss Jeremiah always closes by saying she is “armed with a passion for television and journalism”.
How very truly, truly, unfortunate — for all of us.