There has been much discussion over the past few days about the Maccabean’s use of photos that were taken from this blog and reproduced without permission or acknowledgement.
My views on why this happened (and how to respond) differ slightly to that of my fellow bloggers, butÂ asÂ a Jewgle blogging team our conclusionÂ appears to beÂ in unison.Â We consider thatÂ that the Maccabean has demonstrated a lack ofÂ journalistic integrity, has exercised poorÂ judgement andÂ netiquette, and has crossed an important red line.Â In short, the MaccabeanÂ is a publication that isÂ charging customers toÂ sell information.Â Â This latestÂ occurance is symptomatic of a big problem for the paper, which when it comes to news, has a track record of notÂ creating information,Â but ratherÂ collecting articles and republishing them.Â There is often, butÂ not always,Â permission or acknowledgement.
The use of unreferenced Jewgle material is a big principle issue for our blog team.Â At the outset, we would like to put on record our intention to be constructive towards all efforts to promote Jewish life in Perth.Â Â Both now and into the future we do not have a problem with material being reproduced from this site.Â But if it is intellectual property of our creation, then itÂ deserves due acknowledgement and reference, especially when being reproduced by a registered publication with a paying subscriber base.Â Â Â
It was once said that the difference between plagiarism and research is that plagiarism is copying the work of one person, and that research is copying the work of many. But Wikipedia does a better job by defining plagiarism as follows:
Plagiarism (from the Latin “plagiarius,” meaning “a plunderer” or, an older term, “plagium,” meaning “kidnapping,” or possibly “plagiare,” which is “to wound”) is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship of (or incorporating material from) someone else’s written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one’s own without adequate acknowledgement.Â …… Plagiarism can also occur unconsciously; in some cultures certain forms of plagiarism are accepted because the concept can be interpreted differently.
Let’s put it on record that Judaism is not one of those cultures where we accept thatÂ intellectual property can be taken and reproducedÂ without acknowledgement .
With this point well and truely made, it is timely to make some broader comments that relate to Jewish media, including but not limited to the Maccabean.Â Â The comment was made today that the Maccabean should not feel threatened by a blog such as JewglePerth.Â Â Let me respond by saying that one of the things that the internet has done is to change the nature of media.Â Our blog is a form of media.Â We are not commercial, in the same sense that the Maccabean is ostensibly “not for profit”.Â JewglePerthÂ however, can and will be a source of news about Jewish Perth.Â In an ideal scenarioÂ our efforts will be complimentary to the Maccabean.Â We have no future commercial intent through the development of this blog, and in this respect do not representÂ a competitive force.Â
There have been many calls for the Maccabean to be more representativeÂ of Jewish issues, local news, andÂ accurate insight into Jewish ideas.Â Â Our community paper hasÂ failed to respond, andÂ persists inÂ being recognised as a community rag and not a community newspaper.Â On theseÂ matters JewglePerth is prepared to pick up the slack and positively profile issues, events and opinions within our Jewish community.Â Â We have made the point previously, which was reflected within theÂ papers own editorial, that the Maccabean is a newspaper without any professional journalists orÂ correspondents.Â If the publication wants toÂ seriously define itself as “Perth’s only JewishÂ Newspaper”Â this has to change.Â The search isÂ now on for a newÂ editor, butÂ realistically the paper needs to be able to resource and establish a professional managing editor inÂ order for itÂ to functionÂ properly.Â Our community deserves a good newspaper, andÂ in today’sÂ environment that is difficult to achieve in a voluntary capacity.Â
What distinguishesÂ JewgleperthÂ fromÂ mainstream Jewish media, aside from our amatuer status,Â isÂ that weÂ hold a clear and proud editorial line.Â We areÂ a contemporary pro Jewish, Orthodox, Zionist blog.Â Â The Jewish media (Maccabean and AJN)Â cater to a broader clientele.Â Their readers span the spectrum of those who identify with the Jewish community andÂ as a result of the diverse readershipÂ theyÂ often lack focus or clarity in their editorial direction.Â On occasions the Jewish media presentÂ ideas and conceptsÂ that do nothing but demean religious Judaism, and in particular the Maccabean hasÂ consistently allowed this to persist.Â
As bloggers we are also forthright and direct, and believe we have a responsibility to draw attention to the issues that impact us.Â This is perhaps the biggest criticism that many consumers of the local Jewish media have.Â Papers such as the AJN and Maccabean have the ability to produce material that can find its way into the public domain and mainstream press.Â They couldÂ fulfill a massive hasbara role for our community.Â Â They could help to counteract the media bias against Israel.Â They could positively profile the role of the Jewish community in Australian cities.Â Sadly however, these publications are insular and do not look beyond their subscription base of Jewish households.Â They do not look to produce news, human interest stories, or project the beauty of the Jewish community in the form of journalism that can be applied beyondÂ theÂ bounds of their own publications.
Finally, what we as bloggers are able to bring through this online medium is a truely open forumÂ for opinion and debate.Â In the past the Maccabean hasÂ held a reputation for controlling debate in theÂ Jewish communityÂ through exercising over-zealous editorial discretion.Â Â The paper has improvedÂ during the tenure of the past two editors, however it stillÂ avoids posing the hard challenging questions and promoting debate over contentious issues.Â If nothing else the Jewgle blog provides a forum for discussion and open comment.Â WeÂ do edit/delete comments if they are offensiveÂ or beyond acceptable limits, but are open to accepting criticism, tolerating different viewpoints, and faciliting serious discussion.Â Your use of our media to exemplifyÂ the capabilities of community debate are always welcomed.Â Â Â
The Maccabean has a mandate and a role for this community that it will continue to fulfill.Â We have no mandate, but we do have the belief that in these days of alternative modern media, the position of the Maccabean is not exclusive, and not beyond reproach.Â We will call the Maccabean, and any other mediaÂ to task when weÂ see injustice.Â We will also continue to fill in theÂ gaps by providing news and information about the Perth Jewish community, one of the Diaspora’sÂ best kept secrets.Â Â Â