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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Posnanski’

When I was reading a Joe Posnanski post for NBC Sports recently, I wondered whether someone might accuse me of plagiarism.

Posnanski made some of the same points I made on my Hated Yankees blog in October about the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Pre-Integration Era Committee. He even used two of the exact same phrases I used: We both referred to the era as the “Segregation Era” and the “Jim Crow Era.”

Posnanski passage

Screenshot from Posnanski’s NBC column.

On full examination, I think any reasonable journalist would call the use of the same phrases a reasonable coincidence, if the second writer didn’t read the first writer’s piece, inspiration if he did.

Renaming the era was kind of a theme of my piece. I also called it the Bigotry Era, Birth of a Nation Era, Back of the Bus Era, Amos ‘n Andy Era, Lynch Mob Era, Jazz Player Era, Plessy vs. Ferguson Era, Separate But Unequal Era, Stepin Fetchit Era, No Coloreds Era, Whites Only Era and Shameful Era.

I might have carried the renaming theme a bit far, but it was a long post and I used the names as a unifying thread. Whether Posnanski read my piece or not, he showed more restraint by using just a couple names. Using a half-dozen or more of the same names would have been plagiarism if he had seen my piece before writing his, but there was hardly anything original by either of us to call that time the Segregation Era and Jim Crow Era.

And if I had seen Posnanski’s piece first, riffing to many more names, that would clearly be inspiration, not plagiarism. (more…)

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