"S. Renee Greene," Examiner.com Freelancer, Plagiarizes New Times' Jodi Arias and Sheriff Babeu Stories
Do your own freakin' work, Renee!
We're speaking of "S. Renee Greene," one of the citizen-journalists who publishes articles on Examiner.com -- and who ripped off portions of the Jodi Arias feature article published in Phoenix New Times this week.
Greene, through her writer's account with Examiner.com, published her own article on the Arias case Thursday titled "Arias Recreates Reality TV Drama for Maricopa County Courtroom."
Except it wasn't really her own article, since we helped write it. And she's on a roll, having lifted material recently from another New Times article on Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
For her March 11 piece on Babeu, Greene lifted several phrases from the February 28 New Times article "Babeu's "Elite" Staff Overcomes Bad Behavior with Loyalty," by Monica Alonzo, which is about Babeu's favorable treatment of "elite" staff members.
Here's an example of one of the many similar passages between the two Babeu articles:
Alonzo wrote: "And, proving himself the ultimate loyalist among the sheriff's "elite," Henry never said a public word to the contrary."
Greene's pastiche says: "Henry, ever the loyalist in Babeu's elite stable, has never said a public word to the contrary."
Three days later, Greene grew even bolder with her Arias plagiarism, lifting two entire paragraphs verbatim:
Arias claimed that her murder victim was a wanna-be pedophile, used her like a prostitute, called her a "three-holed wonder" and a "whore," and abused her mentally and physically. She stated that she once caught him masturbating to a picture of a 5- or 6-year-old boy, and soon after got into a raging fight with him during which he broke her finger.
The wrap-up of the initial defense testimony had Arias going over the details of her self-defense claim: She described how Alexander, angry that she'd dropped his new camera, chased her from the shower to a closet, where she found "his" gun and shot him. She claimed the next thing she remembers is driving into the desert in a "fog." Her testimony was as compelling as it was sketchy
Her article contained some original writing, but also other phrases that seem to have come straight from our work.
This isn't the first time that Examiner.com has been called out for a freelancer's plagiarism. Its freelancers get a small fee for their work based on the number of page views articles receive. The SF Weekly's Matt Smith wrote an article in 2007 that mentions problems with an "examiner" named Sharon Gray, and how her articles were removed by the company once he inquired about Gray's work.
Examiner.com, the baby of billionaire Phillip Anschutz, has would-be writers agree to only use original work in their articles when they sign up with the company. There is no "pre-publication review" of the articles, company officials say.
Justin Jimenez, senior director of content for the website, tells us that the company takes plagiarism very seriously. The company will conduct an investigation based on the allegations against Greene, he says.
"It's not something we tolerate, nor . . . obviously condone," he says.
If one of the the website's 90,000 freelance writers is found to have plagiarized, their work will be taken down, says Deborah Scheinben, the site's general counsel, adding that "repeat infringers" are terminated.
We called a California company Greene claims to work for, Empowerment Leadership Academy, in her Examiner.com author page, and also tried to e-mail her and send a message through one of her LinkedIn pages, but we didn't hear back.
Probably working on her next article.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.