By Jide Taiwo
On Friday I saw an article circulating around several people’s Facebook statuses. Usually I ignore because mostly they are hoaxes tossed around by people in dire need of entertainment. But in this case, it was a compelling story, no less about a Nigerian great in the person of King Sunny Ade and his legal troubles with his record label in the seventies.
It took all of five minutes to find out details of the original author of this compelling piece on Onigegewura Blog. Immediately I sent an email to him, asking for his express permission to publish on our website, affirming that full credit will be given – of course.
Now as Editor of NET, we have republished countless opinions which we felt deserved to be heard by a wider audience, always with express permission of the original author. Where that delays, or in cases where the editorial board determines the content is free for use, we guest-publish with the byline of the author. A few examples are: Why we must march against bad government in Nigeria on February 6 by 2face Idibia, Retraction: College of Education, Gidan Waya killing by Audu Maikori, The Rise and Fall of Alaba by eLDee tha Don; as well as the romantic love notes Adesua Etomi and Banky W after the two made their engagement public: Olubankole, Your Heart Is Good And Pure – It Will Be a Blessing To Be Married To You and I Fell In Love With An Actress And Now My Life Is A Movie. Those last two articles were in fact Instagram posts that the lovebirds dedicated to each other.
Again for emphasis, these pieces are published with the intention of sharing the content therein as widely as possible, and the owner is always, always credited appropriately.
We create thousands of original content at NET every week. But we also listen attentively to make sure we curate materials our audiences would love, materials that will help tell our stories better; materials that throw light on parts of our history mostly forgotten.
Its disgusting the way you lifted this article from Onigegewura without crediting the original writer, and removing all references to him. https://t.co/MQM7tVkAiX
— Penfold (@remiopakunle) August 20, 2017
On Sunday afternoon, my attention was called to some tweets pointedly accusing NET of plagiarizing the Sunny Ade piece we had published on Saturday morning. I was saddened to see the media house I work for- which had been celebrated in the past for practising actual journalism and not falling into the trap which many ‘blogs’ had fallen into- being branded as such. Apart from the personal high standards I hold myself to, it is an editorial policy at NET to eschew plagiarism as strongly as we do libel and slander.
Every media organization worth its name knows better than to pass off other people’s work off as theirs. It is lazy, unprofessional, and not to sound like Donald Trump, frankly disgraceful. We have never done it. I have never done it.
The annotation to the piece authored by Onigegewura was done to avoid this exact type of situation. A hyperlink was included to direct the audience back to the original piece. One of our offended readers accused us of ‘removing all references of the man’. I assume he meant the one or two lines where the author mentioned other references from his past blogposts. Moreso this writer made sure he included the fact that some parts have been edited for context- like how much a million naira in 1974 would be valued in 2017.
Criticism should be expected and embraced; we give it often, and we get it all the time. This is one of those times when we are at the receiving end, and I, as editor, take full responsibility, especially because the author had yet to respond to our request when we published the article.
He did respond this evening, following the criticism on Twitter and, not surprisingly, he expressed his dismay.
‘Dear Mr Taiwo,
My attention has just been drawn to your site where you published the edited version of my KSA story. Your referenced mail was yet to be responded to before you went ahead to put up the story. As creative professional, things ought to have been done professionally. It’s not only legal, it’s also proper. The story did not only appear first on Olanrewaju Blog. It was written by Olanrewaju Onigegewura as indicated on the blog. Unfortunately, this authorship didn’t appear in your publication. I thank your for your interest. Onigegewura.’
I have written personally to him offering full apologies.
I reiterate that we published the article originally because we are keen to bring conversations around Nigerian music history to our mostly young audiences. If Baseline Music, for example, is said to have a 5 billion naira get-out clause with Skales, would it not be informative for younger audiences to learn that it was already a thing more than forty years ago?
There’s a clear process for getting such articles approved for publishing on all of our websites. I’m afraid we did not fully follow that process in this case. And the article has now been deleted from our website. It is the first time we are having to delete a published post since this website went live on November 23, 2009.
We live in an era where tweets are stolen and used to get more retweets. We live in an era where everyone with internet is a publisher- and critic. The feedback is often fast and furious, even if misplaced.
The onus is then upon us, ‘legacy publishers’ in new media, to do better than everyone else. Whatever is acceptable by ‘blogs’ should not be satisfactory for us.
Again it goes to show how many people pay attention to what we do, and we’re grateful for the feedback.
I- as Editor- am unwavering my belief that Mr. Olanrewaju’s story on Onigegewura is a must read, especially for those of us that were born in the decades following the KSA vs Abioro debacle. We will publish it again, with his kind permission, purely unedited and with the full byline of the original author.
I thank you.
The post Editor’s Note: We Deleted An Article From Our Website For The First Time In Seven Years. Here’s Why. appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today – Nigeria’s Top Website for News, Gossip, Comedy, Videos, Blogs, Events, Weddings, Nollywood, Celebs, Scoop and Games.