The Inquirer codifies plagiarism in a memo

Memowatch: corporate policy gone awry?

SemiAccurate logoThere are times when it is hard to think of a worse way to do things, and The Inquirer just exceeded all expectations. Internal documents from the organization lay things out.

The story itself is short and not sweet. The Inquirer has been plagiarizing SemiAccurate and others for a long time, and polite background requests went more or less nowhere. We were directly told by employees of The Inquirer that SemiAccurate, and several other sites of former Inquirer employees were on a ‘no-link’ ban list.

Having such a policy and such a list violates almost every ethical standard in journalism, plagiarism is something that is drilled in to the head of school children from an early age. This being a large corporate site with ‘professional’ editors and management, they unquestionably know better, and know how blatantly wrong plagiarism is.

To find a purportedly serious journalistic organization not only codifying such a practice, but putting it in writing and enforcing it is stunning. That they do it for financial reasons, and state that in writing, is flat out astounding.

The following memo was sent to SemiAccurate by a trusted but unnamed source. It doesn’t appear complete or up to date, we know we are on the latest version of it. This version is said to be from earlier this year, so if you were left out, there may still be hope for your organization.

Here is the memo from The Inquirer, printed as received, the only change made was the broken link noted. Enjoy.S|A

Ed. republish at will with attribution.

<Begin The Inquirer memo>
Linking policy

The policy of The INQUIRER on linking is not to link to sites that are competitors to The INQ. Press releases, corporate statements, blog posts should be sought for all stories. Company’s online press releases don’t need to be linked too either. Only when a site is not a competitor and it has a very strong exclusive about a subject that is core INQ subject matter, and where no other source can be found, are links acceptable.

This is not an exhaustive list and may be added to in future.

The following websites are competitors of ours that, according to[S|A note: The link was broken in the original, we think they mean, but can’t be sure.], either get more page views, about the same views or less but could be described as near-peers.
El Reg
Ars Technica
PC World
PC Magazine
Maximum PC
Information Week
PC Pro
Laptop magazine
PC Advisor
Computer shopper
Tech Shout

These are sites that do not compete with us but have been known to get news. However the rule is, we only link to them when they have an exclusive that has not since had a statement put out by the company in question. Other blogs and minor sites not listed here can also be deemed classed as dodgy.

These websites are for publications that do not compete directly with us.
National/regional/local newspapers

<End The Inquirer memo>

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate