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ABC6 Plagiarizes GoLocal Investigative Report and Gets Facts Wrong

Monday, July 22, 2013

 

A recent GoLocalProv.com report on the top health violations in Providence Restaurants was plagiarized by ABC6.

The GoLocal investigation of the top 25 restaurants was released on Wednesday, July 17. A story citing the same restaurants was released by ABC6 on Friday and listed the same restaurants. The ABC6 rewrite of the GoLocal Investigation made a number of assertions in their report that were factually incorrect.

“GoLocalProv invested time, energy and money to develop a public interest investigative story that reported on the health violations in Providence restaurants. We were extremely careful with reporting the data. ABC6 plagiarized the story. Even worse, in their haste to rewrite the story, it contained statements that are incorrect,” said Josh Fenton, CEO and Co-Founder of GoLocal24, the parent company to GoLocalProv.com.

While much of the research conducted to develop the story was available via public records on the Department of Health’s web site, certain material could not be accessed due to a programing error.

ABC6's original story

“We had to request specific data from the Department of Health’s Dara Chadwick, the Chief Officer of Health Promotion at Rhode Island Department of Health, due to a faulty link in their database,” said Kate Nagle, GoLocalProv’s reporter on the story.

ABC6 Pulls the Story

The story by ABC6, which was removed from the station’s web site after GoLocalProv.com raised concerns and requested a response regarding the plagiarism of the GoLocal investigation.

In an email to Chris Tzianabos, Vice President/General Manager of ABC6, GoLocal requested a response to the plagiarism. Repeated requests to get comment from Tzianabos were unsuccessful.

Story is now missing

Factual errors in the ABC6 rewrite of the GoLocalProv investigation included an assertion that "25 of the city's restaurants have health violations" – GoLocal looked at data for the past three years of restaurants inspected, and for the past year alone the number of restaurants with violations was more than twice that, but GoLocal reported on the top 25.

Also, ABC6 reported: "The restaurant with the least amount of violations, Il fornello, only have 7 health violations including dirty ice dispensers." Again, there were numerous restaurants inspected in the city that had less than 7 violations, and some in fact had no violations.

"GoLocal stories have been picked up by many of the top news organizations, including the New York Times, ESPN, Huffington Post, Politico, CBS Sports, Boston Globe, and many others. It is one thing to be the source for another news organization's work and be cited, but you can't just copy and paste and call it your journalism," said Fenton.
 

 

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