Monthly Archives: March 2013

The managing editor of D.C.-based culture blog Brightest Young Things, Logan Donaldson, appears to have lifted 44 blurbs credited “-Logan” from multiple publications in a summer music guide published 9 a.m. March 26.

Emily White first brought this to my attention at noon today via Gmail Gchat, pointing out the similarity of the blurb promoting Wavves’ April 13 gig at the Rock & Roll Hotel:

When I clicked the BYT link, the post read:

I then clicked White’s link to Interview Magazine‘s 2009 profile on Wavves, written by T. Cole Rachel, which reads:

From the first word to the right before Interview begins to quote Wavves’ Nathan Williams, the BYT paragraph matches exactly.

Skeptical it was a coincidence, I then searched another post in the BYT music guide credited to Donaldson. I picked the very first blurb in the guide about Depeche Mode’s upcoming album Delta Machine.

A quick search brought me to this album review by Neil McCormick for The Telegraph, from which Donaldson lifts from two paragraphs.

Outraged by the blatant plagiarism White and I began tweeting about our findings while continuing to look into the BYT post, as well as Donaldson.

The XLR8R Magazine example is particularly egregious because Donaldson took the time to edit out XLR8R’s self-mention.


XLR8R (Pay attention to the second line “the XLR8R faithful”):
(Credit to Tim Anderson for bringing this to my attention.)

Eventually Logan Donaldson replied to White and me on Twitter, however he removed the tweet soon after. Fortunately, screenshots of the tweet were taken.

Donaldson also deleted another incriminating tweet from the past 24 hours, in which he humblebragged about writing “7,000 words on music yesterday and overnight.” Unfortunately, by the time I thought to screenshot it, it had been taken down. Lesson learned.

In addition to the 44 posts that were credited to Logan Donaldson (it is not clear if Donaldson plagiarized on all 44 posts), there were many which did not have any attribution. It is entirely reasonable that they could have been written by BYT staffers, however Andrew Bailey found that some BYT blurbs matched Facebook descriptions.

Other victims of Donaldson’s copy-past rampage:The Believer Magazine, Dummy Magazine.

The Washington City Paper‘s Will Sommer has also found that Donaldson lifted from Rolling Stone and even Wikipedia. The City Paper said 18 blurbs have now been changed to source various outside publications and websites. The new attributions include:
Chicago Tribune
• Sierra Club
Resident Advisor
• Howard Theatre
Complex Magazine
• HipHopDX

By 9 p.m., other changes to BYT’s summer music guide do not include any sign of an “updated,” “correction,” “clarification,” “disclaimer” or similar tag, however the by-line now reads “curated and written by.” Logan Donaldson is still the first contributor credited.

The DCist also wrote a story on BYT’s lazy plagiarism and equally lazy coverup, with comments from BYT founder Svetlana Legetic. (Legetic also comments in the City Paper‘s story.)

As of 9:30 a.m. March 27, the BYT guide has been edited and removed the previously plagiarized paragraphs that were later amended with attribution. They have been replaced by a sentence or two and no writer is given credit.

The by-line at the top of the BYT post has been changed again to read “All original words by,” and Donaldson is now the fourth writer credited. Until the morning, Donaldson remained the first writer listed in the credit line, even after attributions on at least 18 plagiarized blurbs were edited to various publications and websites (from “-Logan”) and the by-line was changed to “curated and written by.” There is still no “correction,” “edited,” “updated,” “clarification” or any resembling tag on the BYT post.

By 1 p.m. March 27, this editor’s note was added to the top of the BYT post:

Ed Note: This post has been updated to include only original content produced by BYT writers. Thank you for reading and your patience.

An 11:04 p.m. tweet from DCist associate editor Benjamin R. Freed, who wrote the earlier story on the scandal, said Donaldson has been dismissed, and BYT is investigating the extent of his plagiarism and temporarily taking down all posts that credit Donaldson.

Read all the tweets over on Storify.


Published March 25, 2013 on USA TODAY College.

Students at the University of Arkansas are encouraging young girls in the local school districts to dream B.I.G. — Dream Believing In Girls, that is.

Part of the Alternative Service Break program and Volunteer Action Center at the university, Dream B.I.G. started in 2010 after the request from the community of Elaine, Ark.

“It [started as] a day camp and it addressed goal setting, self-esteem and making healthy decisions. We brought 10 students to the community to facilitate the camp,” said Amanda Finch, program coordinator for the university’s Center for Community Engagement. Originally set up to be a camp for girls 9-13 years old, Finch said it quickly expanded.

“We opened camp on the first today and we had 50 kids show up from babies to 18-year-olds, boys and girls because they were just looking for something to do” as there is very little for the kids in the community, Finch said. “The community center where we were placed was a trailer with no running water and a non-functioning bathroom.”

The last day of Dream B.I.G.’s 2012 camp. — Photo courtesy of Dream B.I.G.

This pilot version of what would become Fayetteville, Ark.,’s Dream B.I.G. program sought to inspire the children to make healthy choices and set career goals.

“We played games with them and we listened to them. We learned that they don’t have a very helpful outlook on life,” Finch said. “Some of the things we tried to do was goal settings — thinking about where you wanted to live when you grow up, what you want to be. A lot of the kids could not … conceptualize any place farther than Little Rock, which is about three hours from the Delta.”

Three years later, Dream B.I.G. has just wrapped up its third overnight camp from March 16-20, this year with 44 girls in grades 6-12, including 16 girls who are returning from last spring’s program.

This year’s theme was the Dream B.I.G. Galaxy, which centered around “reflecting on your past, living in the present and planning for your future.” Girls are divided into Dream Teams named after planets and lead by trained student mentors.

University of Arkansas students can get involved via four paid part-time positions, as well as through volunteer mentor positions. These student coordinators organize all aspects of the camp, including planning guest speakers (Dream B.I.G. holds an Oprah-inspired “Legends Lunch” and invited women in the community who came from similar situations as the girls in the program and now work as professors, lawyers, poets and business leaders, including the C.E.O. of Sam’s Club and the local pastor), assigning roommates, sorting out travel, creating breakout sessions, social media marketing and recruitment and training other student mentors.

In addition to the program’s focus on goal setting and building healthy relationships and lifestyles (with Zumba and yoga classes), the girls at camp this year took the Clifton strength assessment, which is a personality test that identifies the girl’s top five (or top three for the girls in eighth grade or under) things they’re “uniquely good at,” Finch said. She adds that the student mentors will use these qualities in all of the Dream Team activities to help build the girls’ self-esteem and awareness.

The Dream B.I.G. caught the attention of Chicago-based bloggers Six Brown Chicks who reached out to the program and asked if they could participate in the March camp.

“It’s really exciting because these women are professional relationship experts. They’ve experienced many different things in their lives that are very similar to what the girls have experienced,” Finch said. “They’re going to help facilitate a healthy relationship seminar and a conflict and bullying resolution seminar.”

The writers of Six Brown Chicks promote the positive motto of “Being Responsible Obedient Willingly Now. Choosing Honesty Integrity Commitment Kindness and Self-worth,” making them a perfect fit for the Dream B.I.G. program.

“It’s not only an opportunity for our girls who are coming to receive that mentorship, but it’s also a unique opportunity for our students to be able to interact with these women, and I think there’s a possibility for internships and jobs and professional networks and just seeing where they can go after college.”

This is part of USA TODAY College’s Spotlight Series, which features student bands, campus organizations, student entrepreneurs and start-ups, student-run media, student artists and any other students doing cool, admirable and proactive things. If you’d like to nominate a student or an organization, please submit here.

Published March 25, 2013 on USA TODAY College.

Time magazine published its annual roundup of the top Twitter feeds today, bestowing the honor of the most consistent 140 characters of “wit and wisdom” on, an appropriate, 140 accounts.

It’s a bit daunting to click through 140 slides (when did a “see all” view become passé?), so we picked a few of standout accounts from each of the 14 categories Time assigned.


1. @NonprofitOrgs exclusively follows non-profit organizations and staffers, so it caters to bring news and tips to the organizations while also sharing general non-profit news.

2. Longtime actress @MiaFarrow now focuses on her humanitarian work as a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador, tweeting news, quotes and commentary about Africa, LGBT and other issues.

Art and Photography

3. Not many people have figured Vine out, but @ManBartlett‘s got an interesting take on it. The “post-artist” can also be seen “asking for friend.”

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