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Cut-and-paste merchants

Welcome to the DL News ombudsman’s blog, where we will respond to readers’ comments about reports we publish.

Positive feedback is always encouraging. But we also welcome informed, rational criticism. If you have something to say, please send it to this e-mail address: We are more likely to reply than we are to remarks on social media.

Constructive criticism keeps us sharp and helps us to improve the quality of our journalism. DL News was set up to fill what appeared to us to be a gap in the media. We exist to fill a need for in-depth reports about, and informed analysis of the world of decentralized finance by specialists.

Reports such as the fact that Surojit Chatterjee, chief product officer of Coinbase, will take $105 million in stock sales with him when he leaves his job this week after only three years of his five-year contract.

Our story, published on January 24, generated a lot of chat online, some of it recalling Chatterjee’s less than illustrious career at Coinbase.

The report was picked up by Jeff Roberts, crypto editor at Fortune, whose tweet attracted more than a quarter of a million views. Other respected crypto journalists who drew it to the attention of their readers included Anna Irrera, Senior Crypto Editor at Bloomberg, and Colin Wu.

It was gratifying that they credited DL News with breaking the story, although that was only to be expected of serious professionals.

There was no satisfaction in seeing it shamelessly copied by some other media and republished with no attribution, as though they had done the investigation themselves.

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It is sometimes said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The full quote, attributed to Oscar Wilde, is more caustic. He said it was flattery paid by mediocrity to greatness.

‘There is a difference between imitation and plagiarism. Between taking someone else’s work and pretending it is your own. Between mediocrity and theft.’

Even so, there is a difference between imitation and plagiarism. Between taking someone else’s work and pretending it is your own. Between mediocrity and theft.

Plagiarism is one of the biggest sins a journalist can commit. To pass off someone’s work as your own is not only to deprive them of a potential source of income; it is to cheat the editor who pays you for work you have not done; and it is to deceive your readers into believing that you are a reliable reporter.

It is for those reasons that copyright laws exist, that every code of journalistic ethics prohibits plagiarism, and that reputable media outlets do not hesitate to sack those who are guilty of it.

The Chatterjee story was a fine piece of journalism. It required careful investigation and corroboration by excellent sources. It was rigorously checked by our editors to ensure that it met our standards for accuracy and public interest.

We published it with the byline of the reporter, Jim Edwards, to let readers know that it was the work of an experienced journalist with a deserved reputation for covering the business world.

The people who reprinted the story without crediting either him or DL News are not journalists. They are cut-and-paste merchants.

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