AOL Patch Debuts New Rochelle Operation by Plagiarizing From Talk of the Sound

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When word came that AOL Patch was preparing to launch a New Rochelle edition, Talk of the Sound welcomed them in the hope that they would bring new resources to covering New Rochelle and with some fear that the North End clique that runs New Rochelle would seek to turn it into a propaganda outlet.

Given the nature of New Rochelle, I expect that the clique that runs New Rochelle will try to turn it into another "cheerleading" propaganda platform. Hopefully, the editors at Patch.com will not allow that to happen. In either case, more media coverage of New Rochelle is always good so I, for one welcome them.

The debut has hardly been auspicious. The first problem is that the woman hired to run the local version of AOL Patch, Allison Esposito is a democratic political operative with close ties to Amy Paulin and Democrats in the Democratic-Controlled New York State Assembly where she worked as a Communications Director. She left there to work on Amy Paulin's re-election campaign and later become Amy's PR person where she worked until a few weeks ago before joining AOL Patch.

The result? Surprise! The site is basically a public relations platform for Noam Bramson and the Board of Education. In the first week we have a "column" from Mayor Bramson, a "Q&A" with Bramson, a few puff pieces on New Rochelle schools, quotes from Board of Education President Sara Richmond, and more from Noam Bramson. Even a story on political conventions in White Plains features a campaign photo from Amy Paulin's friend Jim Maisano. In other words, AOL Patch is a platform to advance a "City Hall" agenda. There is one "negative" article but the article contains more Bramson spin -- his only public statements on the murder of Kevin Williams.

More disturbing is the decision of AOL Patch to openly plagiarize from Talk of the Sound in their first week of operation.

Plagirism by AOL Patch-455.jpg

As readers know, we like to publish a photo across the full column of most stories. In this case, I obtained the three mug shots from NRPD and then used Adobe Photoshop to make a single image containing all three mug shots, cropped, along with a caption indicating the names of each suspect. As is plain from looking at the image file on AOL Patch, Ms. Esposito lifted that image from Talk of the Sound, chopped off the caption with the names and presented it as her own work. Mug shots are public records and cannot be copyrighted but creating a new image out those same public records does create a unique image that is covered under copyright. So, whether you call it a copyright violation or plagiarism, it is appropriating someone else's work and passing it off as your own. A look at some of the other stories on the site suggests that Ms. Esposito strongly suggests that she is not doing much original reporting but sitting at a computer, sending out emails to get quotes and using material from other online sources (Talk of the Sound, Journal News, etc.) to write quasi-summaries.

Talk of the Sound has no problem co-operating with other media outlets. We have offered our articles, photos and videos to the Journal News, Channel 12 News, Westchester Herald, Sound and Town, WNBC-TV 4, WCBS-TV 2, and others. All we ask is that they ask for permission and give attribution to Talk of the Sound. Ms. Esposito did not ask nor did she give attribution -- not a great way to introduce yourself to the media community in New Rochelle.

Below is my email to AOL Patch asking them to remove the image and ask permission next time.

Ms. Esposito,

Having been welcoming to you and AOL Patch coming into New Rochelle, I was more than a bit irritated to find you lifting material from site without attribution. As far as I am concerned, you have managed to make an unwelcome interloper in New Rochelle within less than a week.

AOL Patch Debuts New Rochelle Operation by Plagiarizing From Talk of the Sound
http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/aol-patch-debuts-new-rochelle-ope...

Looking at the first week of operation I see a site that, as I feared, is little more than a platform for City Hall and the Board of Education to publish their propaganda unfiltered but under the patina of a supposedly neutral third party. If you want to turn New Rochelle Patch into the New Rochelle Pep Squad that is entirely up to you but I would appreciate your not cribbing from my site to make use of material gathered through my own effort in reporting out stories using sources I have cultivated over many years.

Please remove the mug shot image file you took from my site without permission immediately.

In the future, if you wish to make use of my content please show me the courtesy of asking permission.

Robert Cox
Managing Editor
New Rochelle's Talk of the Sound

cc. Katie Ryan O'Connor

UPDATE:: heh! Well, at least they admit the site is a propaganda site so I have to give them that. Below is an exchange of comments beneath Mayor's Bramson "column". For those not familiar with the two commenters, that is Theresa Kump-Leghorn a well-known Democratic political operative in New Rochelle and her boss Allison, another Democratic operative. The "P" next to the names means the commenters work for Patch. [just to be clear I am not "fuzzy"; as even my biggest detractors know if I have something to say I say it will always use my own name. That said, I did laugh a little at Fuzzy's comment]

Patch Propaganda.png

RELATED:

AOL Patch Debuts New Rochelle Operation by Plagiarizing From Talk of the Sound

New Rochelle Patch Doubles-Down, Denies Plagiarism of Talk of the Sound

Romensko Blog Picks up New Rochelle Patch Plagiarism Story; Media Bistro Piles On

New Rochelle Patch Removes Murder Mug Shot Images Lifted Talk of the Sound

AOL Statement: Regarding the mug shot issue with New Rochelle Patch admitting editor lied

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Roberta the Pos... on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 02:08

This site promotes negativity and hate and its coverage misses the beat on many items in and around New Rochelle. Countles items are not covered so it will be good to see what the Patch offers. I am familiar with other Patch sites and they do a thorough job covering their communities because there are multiple people involved with multiple topics to cover, ie sports, politics, etc.

Roberta the Postperson

Robert Cox's picture
Robert Cox on Mon, 09/27/2010 - 15:23

Roberta,

The most "negative" person on this site that I see these days is you.

Rather than tell other people what they can say, why not take the initiative and energy you have and use your blog here to publish "positive" stories about New Rochelle. No one is stopping you.

The problem for you is that, as usual, a quick glance down the "last 10 articles" and "and in other news" column in the center of the home page will make plain that we aim to provide any and all information and reporting about New Rochelle. Sometimes that is "positive" and sometimes that is "negative". I am looking right now at those two sections which have 20 articles total. There are articles from Talk of the Sound as well as the Journal news AOL Patch, NY Times, press releases from the library, United Hebrew, Jim Maisano, Susan Kettner, Peter Parente, the League of Women Voters, articles from the Wall Street journal, the Board of Ed. There are also stories about a cab driver who was robbed.

If you mean that this site is promoting "negative" stories because we reported that a cab driver was robbed at knife point (as did Channel 12, and probably as Lohud will) I see that as 1 "negative" story out of 20 on the site today. Maybe you like Noam so you think my t-shirt article is "negative" so make that 2 of 20.

Maybe you think that when I do not take at face value self-serving statements by politicians that is being "negative".

Maybe you think when I report that the DA is investigating the City of New Rochelle for wholesale theft in the DPW, or the scathing Comptroller report on the New Rochelle IDA or that the head of the Municipal Services Commission was taking tax benefits intended for combat veterans or that a senior building inspector signed off on condo developments that clearly and openly violated the building code or that the same inspector has to be driven around by another employee since he lost his license due to a DWI or that the head of transportation for the Board of Ed was arrested for drunk driving and had drugs in her car that these are "negative" stories. They are certainly "negative" for the people who were caught cheating on their taxes, stealing from the City coffers or driving high or drunk but they are "positive" for tax payers who were having more in taxes because other people were cheating or stealing or were entrusting their children on school buses to a woman who gets drunk, smashes her car into three parked vehicles and flips her own car.

Positive and Negative is a subject judgement. We do not make those kinds of judgements. We report what we consider news and that police officers are arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident and are are arrested for DWI is news, that there was a murder in broad daylight is news, that a cabbie bit the hand of a guy sticking a knife to his throat is news.

There are 77,000 stories in the naked city. These are some of them.

The reason that these rants about how the site "promotes negativity" ring hollow is because the facts so clearly contradict your claims.

What you represent in your comments is the idea that there should only be "positive" stories about New Rochelle and that if you live her and are not part of the "cheerleading squad" you are a traitor to the "family". If New Rochelle WERE a family -- and it is not, it is the 7th largest City in New York State will all the problems that go with that -- then we could describe you and those who share your views as "enablers", people who close their eyes to real problems and pretend that all is well because they are not emotionally equipped to deal with reality. It is this sort of enabling in dysfunctional families that allows child abuse or spousal abuse or drug and alcohol addiction to ruin families. The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. Like the drunk who comes out of their stupor on "the day after" and promises to stop drinking only to be drunk again by lunch time, New Rochelle continues to make poor choices and never seems to learn from mistakes.

Case in point, for years now the Board of Education has put their focus on "showcase" programs and facilities -- the PAVE program, the new wing, a Mandarin language program -- and spent a great deal of effort on PR -- being ranked as a great place to live in BusinessWeek or CNN/Money in absolutely meaningless surveys designed to sell magazines not provide meaningful analysis. The BoE has neglected the South End and in particular the utter debacle at Isaac Young run by a man not fit to run a Burger King who got his position, I believe, thanks to the influence of this well-connected father, a major contractor (PAB Construction) for the City.

The result?

We are now paying off the debt for a very expensive new wing at the high school which houses the PAVE program which is almost exclusively reserved for north end students. Kids who are selected through "blind" auditions to use up a disproportionate share of public school funds, defended by a bunch of liberal democrats who are first in line to tell you they support "diversity" and "affirmative action" and "affordable housing" with one caveat -- not in their backyard.

The high school is way overcrowded but the new wing added relatively little new classroom space due to an inefficient design, especially very wide hallways. Meanwhile less than half of the black and hispanic students coming out of Isaac will graduate from the high school on time. Net net we now have the 3rd lowest on-time graduation rate in Westchester and the high school meets the criteria for a "drop out mill" (less than 60% graduation) for minority students.

The same can be said for downtown development where the IDA gave away tens of millions to Capelli and Avalon, is providing services to thousands of residents and getting little or not taxes. Not to mention the 86 (at last count) students in the public schools from Avalon 1, 2 and Trump that were supposedly not going to be there. We provide all the services which spreads out police, fire and DPW thin and get very little in taxes so we have to reduce staff at all three departments. Meanwhile, Capelli has delivered none of the promised sales tax for Trump and he no longer even owns New Roc having failed to deliver Target and Kohl's. What Capelli has delivered is a blighted area around 5 Anderson, an entertainment complex that attracts roving bands of young people looking for trouble, vacant retail space at Parcel 1A with largely vacant apartments above (Trump). Avalon has delivered little in taxes, massive parking problems, residents who rarely venture beyond the train station but did manage to secure for itself a $35 million profit from the tax abatements they got from the IDA when it sold Avalon 1 to Hartz Mountain.

There are facts. Now there may be mitigating facts that you wish to present but now matter how it is spun or what excuses are made the FACTS are that downtown development has created more problems than it has solved, left the City in the hole financially and the school district is now among the lowest ranked in the County on every significant measure. Calling it "promoting negativity" to state the obvious is the sort of pollyannish behavior that got us in this mess in the first place. Whereas the proper approach is to plan for the worst and hope for the best, our current leadership has planned for the best and not considered what might go wrong.

eye on new roc on Mon, 09/27/2010 - 04:29
Title: bye bye

Hate to see you go but if you want then bye say hi to your boy noam and crew. They love that site it will go down because the dems in new ro control it and this site gives you freedom and they don't (patch). So have fun there we'll miss you here.

ladyjustice on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 03:38

Seems like you have created zero buzz for your new job. No worries, you can always get your old job back, no questions asked.

Bye!!!

ladyjustice on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 03:36

Seems like you have created zero buzz for your new job. No worries, you can always get your old job back, no questions asked.

Bye!!!

newroresident on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 02:38

Yes, there were articles on a murder (we don't get much of those in New Rochelle), and a hold up, but did you also see the articles on restaurants, shopping, the Church steeple, the Armory, etc. I read articles on this site about historic desegragation, the soap box derby, the "Soccer game of the week", etc.
Maybe you don't read the stories about all the community things that are going on and that is why your view is so skewed to the negative.
Life in New Rochelle can be gritty, it isn't all idyllic like the mural you view in the Post Office everyday. Life in New Rochelle can also be fulfilling, with plenty of activites for all kinds of people.
My advice to you is not to be so closed minded, if you open up a bit you would see the whole picture.
Have you also noticed that there are plenty of articles written by people other than Bob Cox, for example, John D, Martin Sanchez, EyeonNewRoc, Newrochelle101, there are politicians and candidates who post articles here also.
Try reading the entire list of articles, not just the headlines.

Roberta the Pos... on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 02:44
Title: Denial

A bunch of negative has beens, bitter betties and such.

Roberta the Postperson

Timknows on Mon, 09/27/2010 - 10:43

Roberta, I hope you enjoy holding hands with Amy, Theresa, Allison and all the feel-good-goodie-two-shoes as you all sing everything is beautiful and burry your heads in the sand while Noam fiddles as New Rochelle burns. I’m sure they will build you a rollerblading stadium complete with a turf infield as they terminate firefighters and raise taxes.

newroresident on Sun, 09/26/2010 - 03:41

I thought you said goodbye to the site?
Remember this beautifully written headline:
"Good rid dens to this site"
Federal job requirements aren't what they used to be!!!

Roberta the Pos... on Mon, 09/27/2010 - 00:56

You're paranoid.

I don't work for the government.

Roberta the Postperson

Roberta the Pos... on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 03:38

Oh, what a lovely bunch of coconuts.

I am happy to see so many positive reflections.

I neither know the patch people or the mayor and i have defeneded neither.

I was recently wondering when lines might be added to The recently-paved North Avenue. I wouldnt want to get hit rollerblading because somone doesnt know the lane width.

Did you know that on this day in New Rochelle history glen Island was inhabited by geese.

Roberta the Postperson

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