Gini Dietrich

Holy Crap, Cooks Source!

By: Gini Dietrich | November 9, 2010 | 
153

Holy crap, Cooks Source! What the heck are you thinking?! By now you’ve probably heard that the magazine is in a whole lot of hot water.

Monica Gaudio wrote a piece about the origins of apple pie on a website for medieval recipes. She was alerted by a friend that the piece had run in Cooks Source with her byline (the friend just had the intention of wondering how she got published). This was news to Monica and she contacted the magazine to complain and ask for an apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia Journalism School. She received an email from managing editor, Judith Griggs, who acknowledged the re-use, but also lectured her about copyright and fair use.

I can’t do the response justice – this you just have to read verbatim.

“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”

Now, I’m not a copyright attorney and I don’t know if it’s not illegal to “lift” an article and “put someone else’s name on it,” but I’m pretty sure it’s a big no-no. Nor have I ever been a big-time editor, but I also am pretty sure it’s still copyright infringement, even if you had to rewrite something you stole (in college, this was referred to as plagiarism). I also don’t get how she can lecture someone, whose copy she stole, about providing advice or rewriting poorly written pieces. Remember, she STOLE the piece…so Monica didn’t ask for advice or provide something that was poorly written for the magazine to use.

Regardless of how I feel about this (and I’d be surprised if you didn’t feel the same), the reason I heard about it is because people flocked to the Cooks Source Facebook wall to talk about how ridiculous the magazine is being in its dealings with Monica (some of it is pretty funny). It has exploded and, in fact, some of the “fans” have found other instances where Cooks Source has stolen content.

This is a business leader’s worst nightmare. I hear all the time, “What happens if someone says something negative about us online?” Guess what? It’s going to happen. So the best advice is to be prepared for a social crisis and negative comments. Cooks Source was not prepared, but they commented about 24 hours later. The “apology” was shallow, condescending to its “fans,” and praised the fact that they went from 110 “likes” to more than 1,800 (at the time – it’s now more than 6,000).

This is the kiss of death. People can tell if you’re being insincere, even online. Authenticity, honesty, and transparency are the name of the game, which is something Judith Griggs and the people at Cooks Source haven’t figured out.

If you were advising Griggs and her team, what would you say?

P.S. The best part? Griggs, over the weekend, deleted her personal Facebook page. Ever heard of making things worse?

Thanks to Erik Heels for the awesome drawing on copyrights

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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153 Comments on "Holy Crap, Cooks Source!"

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SamanthaCollier
SamanthaCollier
5 years 6 months ago

I’m completely speechless (for once!) Thanks for posting this Gini. An example of what NOT to do, EVER!

SamanthaCollier
SamanthaCollier
5 years 6 months ago

I’m completely speechless (for once!) Thanks for posting this Gini. An example of what NOT to do, EVER!

balemar
balemar
5 years 6 months ago

What…the…hell? Who is handling their PR?? Geez! First off – where do they get off stealing content then giving such a condescending response? Second – hiding is NOT the way to handle an online crisis. It makes it so much worse. And acting condescending to people – much less Facebook fans – will NOT win anyone over. Even if you had no opinion on the magazine before, you definitely have a negative one now…

balemar
balemar
5 years 6 months ago

What…the…hell? Who is handling their PR?? Geez! First off – where do they get off stealing content then giving such a condescending response? Second – hiding is NOT the way to handle an online crisis. It makes it so much worse. And acting condescending to people – much less Facebook fans – will NOT win anyone over. Even if you had no opinion on the magazine before, you definitely have a negative one now…

T60Productions
5 years 6 months ago

That’s stunning. I’ve been a journalist at everything from a local newspaper to a national TV newscast and I can’t imagine having an editor with that kind of attitude.

Here’s what my advice would have been…
1. make the donation to Columbia as requested
2. match that by making an additional donation to some sort of young journalists’ society
3. write a sincere letter to Monica apologizing and letting her know about the donations, as well as steps being taking at “Cooks Source” so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

T60Productions
5 years 6 months ago

That’s stunning. I’ve been a journalist at everything from a local newspaper to a national TV newscast and I can’t imagine having an editor with that kind of attitude.

Here’s what my advice would have been…
1. make the donation to Columbia as requested
2. match that by making an additional donation to some sort of young journalists’ society
3. write a sincere letter to Monica apologizing and letting her know about the donations, as well as steps being taking at “Cooks Source” so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

TweetsbyKnorr
TweetsbyKnorr
5 years 6 months ago

OMG! Advice for Griggs would begin with “get a social life…. and secondly to get out of her time warp (“beam me up Scottie”).

The thought of not asking for permission and offering compensation shows she is shallower than the water used to poach an egg.

I would recommend a positive approach . . . funding journalism and social media writers schools and create an education course on Ethics On Line. The first student has identified herself.

TweetsbyKnorr
TweetsbyKnorr
5 years 6 months ago

OMG! Advice for Griggs would begin with “get a social life…. and secondly to get out of her time warp (“beam me up Scottie”).

The thought of not asking for permission and offering compensation shows she is shallower than the water used to poach an egg.

I would recommend a positive approach . . . funding journalism and social media writers schools and create an education course on Ethics On Line. The first student has identified herself.

TweetsbyKnorr
TweetsbyKnorr
5 years 6 months ago

I agree strongly with the T60Productions advice on writing a public apology, and I would deliver this after a private apology. and ask Monica Gaudio where she wants the Griggs sponsored class in online ethics hosted.

TweetsbyKnorr
TweetsbyKnorr
5 years 6 months ago

I agree strongly with the T60Productions advice on writing a public apology, and I would deliver this after a private apology. and ask Monica Gaudio where she wants the Griggs sponsored class in online ethics hosted.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 6 months ago

Unbelievable!! This editor has obviously never heard of SOCIAL Media. She seems to believe that business is still a one way street and she is the gatekeeper. (Let’s not even discuss how poorly edited her response was.) Cooks Source is gong to be feeling the pain for a long time to come.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 6 months ago

Unbelievable!! This editor has obviously never heard of SOCIAL Media. She seems to believe that business is still a one way street and she is the gatekeeper. (Let’s not even discuss how poorly edited her response was.) Cooks Source is gong to be feeling the pain for a long time to come.

fmccaul
fmccaul
5 years 6 months ago

Wow, thank you for sharing. Laziness + arrogance = disaster every time.

fmccaul
fmccaul
5 years 6 months ago

Wow, thank you for sharing. Laziness + arrogance = disaster every time.

TalkingWithTami
TalkingWithTami
5 years 6 months ago

Thats a damn shame! Will no be buying that! smh

TalkingWithTami
TalkingWithTami
5 years 6 months ago

Thats a damn shame! Will no be buying that! smh

Marijean
5 years 6 months ago

It could easily be over for them if they let it be, but I have a few ideas for a recovery plan http://www.marijeanjaggers.com/2010/11/09/but-honestly-monica-five-things-cooks-source-should-do-right-now/
I think Judith’s career will not recover, however. There seems to be no hope for her whatsoever.

Marijean
5 years 6 months ago

It could easily be over for them if they let it be, but I have a few ideas for a recovery plan http://www.marijeanjaggers.com/2010/11/09/but-honestly-monica-five-things-cooks-source-should-do-right-now/
I think Judith’s career will not recover, however. There seems to be no hope for her whatsoever.

nashjar
nashjar
5 years 6 months ago
@TweetsbyKnorr At this point, it has gone far beyond Monica Gaudio. Because Judith Griggs did not take the opportunity to stem the flow before the pipes burst, many internet users have uncovered over 160 additional instances of alleged copyright infringement and plagiarism, including articles and photographs that have been appropriated from other sources. In several cases where the original writers and photographers have been contacted, they had no knowledge of the fact that Cooks Source had used their intellectual property and had not given permission. Some of the affected parties include Paula Deen, Food Network, Disney, WebMD, NPR, and so… Read more »
nashjar
nashjar
5 years 6 months ago
@TweetsbyKnorr At this point, it has gone far beyond Monica Gaudio. Because Judith Griggs did not take the opportunity to stem the flow before the pipes burst, many internet users have uncovered over 160 additional instances of alleged copyright infringement and plagiarism, including articles and photographs that have been appropriated from other sources. In several cases where the original writers and photographers have been contacted, they had no knowledge of the fact that Cooks Source had used their intellectual property and had not given permission. Some of the affected parties include Paula Deen, Food Network, Disney, WebMD, NPR, and so… Read more »
PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 6 months ago

Even if Ms. Griggs apologizes publically now it is obvious (to me anyway) that she won’t be sincere. The damage has already been done and what can be taken away from is to always have a crisis plan in place – ALWAYS!

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 6 months ago

Even if Ms. Griggs apologizes publically now it is obvious (to me anyway) that she won’t be sincere. The damage has already been done and what can be taken away from is to always have a crisis plan in place – ALWAYS!

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 6 months ago

Even if Ms. Griggs apologizes publically now it is obvious (to me anyway) that she won’t be sincere. The damage has already been done and what can be taken away from is to always have a crisis plan in place – ALWAYS!

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight
5 years 6 months ago

Even if Ms. Griggs apologizes publically now it is obvious (to me anyway) that she won’t be sincere. The damage has already been done and what can be taken away from is to always have a crisis plan in place – ALWAYS!

Sushi
5 years 6 months ago

I’m amazed at the poor language in Judith’s “apology”. Isn’t she the managing editor of Cooks Source? That sounds like a position that demands excellent communication skills.

Sushi
5 years 6 months ago

I’m amazed at the poor language in Judith’s “apology”. Isn’t she the managing editor of Cooks Source? That sounds like a position that demands excellent communication skills.

wabbitoid
5 years 6 months ago

There may be a lot less to this than meets the eye, actually.

Are we sure that Cook’s Source isn’t just something that Griggs puts out entirely, or nearly entirely, by herself? There may not be any kind of “team” behind this other than a few casual contributors and hangers-on.

wabbitoid
5 years 6 months ago

There may be a lot less to this than meets the eye, actually.

Are we sure that Cook’s Source isn’t just something that Griggs puts out entirely, or nearly entirely, by herself? There may not be any kind of “team” behind this other than a few casual contributors and hangers-on.

Brigitte
Brigitte
5 years 6 months ago

@nashjar @TweetsbyKnorr Wow. Given this additional information, one can only hope that no amount of PR will save Cooks Source.

Brigitte
Brigitte
5 years 6 months ago

@nashjar @TweetsbyKnorr Wow. Given this additional information, one can only hope that no amount of PR will save Cooks Source.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 6 months ago

More fuel to the fire. Went to checkout Cooks Source website. Had trouble finding it but then only one page comes up. Says that the website has been taken down. Implies that the email was penned by a hacker. Further the Facebook page isn’t controlled by Cooks Source. More “hacker” excuses. Bottom line: Further lessons in how not to react to bad publicity.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 6 months ago

More fuel to the fire. Went to checkout Cooks Source website. Had trouble finding it but then only one page comes up. Says that the website has been taken down. Implies that the email was penned by a hacker. Further the Facebook page isn’t controlled by Cooks Source. More “hacker” excuses. Bottom line: Further lessons in how not to react to bad publicity.

thublogger
thublogger
5 years 6 months ago

OMG! This is something horrendous. Copyright gone wrong big time! I don’t know how Monica have sent her e-mail but for Judith to respond like that, it’s a big slap. However, leave it to the community to vote. This is where the magic of the truth lies. Lessons to learn here.

This is my first time and thanks to Ingrid over at Nitty Gritty, I have found a local professional! Will be checking out the content here more often as I have heaps to learn about marketing now.

Cheers!
Thu

thublogger
thublogger
5 years 6 months ago

OMG! This is something horrendous. Copyright gone wrong big time! I don’t know how Monica have sent her e-mail but for Judith to respond like that, it’s a big slap. However, leave it to the community to vote. This is where the magic of the truth lies. Lessons to learn here.

This is my first time and thanks to Ingrid over at Nitty Gritty, I have found a local professional! Will be checking out the content here more often as I have heaps to learn about marketing now.

Cheers!
Thu

Katjaib
5 years 6 months ago

Judith Griggs seems to have a gift for adding insult to injury. Poor thing.

Her first response to Monica was basically, “I stole your car, but I washed it… and hey was it dirty.” Her ‘apology’ was like, “So I smashed the car into your house, but look, I made the front page.” She in no way inspired Today’s Tiny Change, for the record.

p.s. Shelly Kramer’s also did a good job of covering this on Sunday, “Swiper, No Swiping! Stealing Content Sucks” (http://bit.ly/afhVlf).

Katjaib
5 years 6 months ago

Judith Griggs seems to have a gift for adding insult to injury. Poor thing.

Her first response to Monica was basically, “I stole your car, but I washed it… and hey was it dirty.” Her ‘apology’ was like, “So I smashed the car into your house, but look, I made the front page.” She in no way inspired Today’s Tiny Change, for the record.

p.s. Shelly Kramer’s also did a good job of covering this on Sunday, “Swiper, No Swiping! Stealing Content Sucks” (http://bit.ly/afhVlf).

JMattHicks
5 years 6 months ago
This is one of those stories where I simply don’t know what to say. It’s so ridiculous, so filled with a “man, this has GOT to be a joke!” vibe that I have a hard time believing it’s a real story! Just WOW. If I was advising Griggs team, the first thing I’d say is stop stealing material. When did taking what’s not yours, regardless of the “legality” of the matter (oh, the legislative irony in that statement) become okay? Much less professional and acceptable? The second thing I’d say is you owe her a public apology that I will… Read more »
JMattHicks
5 years 6 months ago
This is one of those stories where I simply don’t know what to say. It’s so ridiculous, so filled with a “man, this has GOT to be a joke!” vibe that I have a hard time believing it’s a real story! Just WOW. If I was advising Griggs team, the first thing I’d say is stop stealing material. When did taking what’s not yours, regardless of the “legality” of the matter (oh, the legislative irony in that statement) become okay? Much less professional and acceptable? The second thing I’d say is you owe her a public apology that I will… Read more »
lgdrew
5 years 6 months ago

Rather than asking for an apology and a donation, perhaps Monica could have accepted that Griggs stole her work…knowing your work is worth stealing is a compliment…right? Requesting for credit seems like the best option.

Griggs handled this shamefully though. There’s no excuse for theft/copyright infringement. And worse, her “polishing” of the article.

Thanks for posting Gini.

lgdrew
5 years 6 months ago

Rather than asking for an apology and a donation, perhaps Monica could have accepted that Griggs stole her work…knowing your work is worth stealing is a compliment…right? Requesting for credit seems like the best option.

Griggs handled this shamefully though. There’s no excuse for theft/copyright infringement. And worse, her “polishing” of the article.

Thanks for posting Gini.

delwilliams
5 years 6 months ago
It is copyright infringement, and if she was a “big time” editor she would know that. Info on the web is NOT considered public domain, it’s just public. There is a difference. If you go by her stand then a song that was just released today online would be public domain, and we know that is not true. She is a thief, but sadly she is a dime a dozen. Online, people do steal people’s stuff and claim as their own. It is plagiarism gone wild. It seems the only way to deal with someone like that is in the… Read more »
delwilliams
5 years 6 months ago
It is copyright infringement, and if she was a “big time” editor she would know that. Info on the web is NOT considered public domain, it’s just public. There is a difference. If you go by her stand then a song that was just released today online would be public domain, and we know that is not true. She is a thief, but sadly she is a dime a dozen. Online, people do steal people’s stuff and claim as their own. It is plagiarism gone wild. It seems the only way to deal with someone like that is in the… Read more »
delwilliams
5 years 6 months ago

@lgdrew Why should someone who labored over their article, and it being stolen be expected to just give it away. Monica should have asked for compensation, which she is entitled to. The donation part should have been up to Monica.

delwilliams
5 years 6 months ago

@lgdrew Why should someone who labored over their article, and it being stolen be expected to just give it away. Monica should have asked for compensation, which she is entitled to. The donation part should have been up to Monica.

etherjammer
etherjammer
5 years 6 months ago

@lgdrew Monica was credited in the magazine. This is an issue not of plagiarism but of copyright, and Monica was well within her rights (and ethically correct) to pursue damages.

And no, knowing your work is worth stealing isn’t a compliment. In fact, the theft means that the thief values your work so little that they think you won’t mind if they just take it without compensating you.

etherjammer
etherjammer
5 years 6 months ago

@lgdrew Monica was credited in the magazine. This is an issue not of plagiarism but of copyright, and Monica was well within her rights (and ethically correct) to pursue damages.

And no, knowing your work is worth stealing isn’t a compliment. In fact, the theft means that the thief values your work so little that they think you won’t mind if they just take it without compensating you.

Jenna_Cerruti
Jenna_Cerruti
5 years 6 months ago
This is just awful! Awful approach, awful response. The e-mail response is especially surprising because Gaudio is an active BLOGGER. Cook’s Source should have at least done its research before trying to fly under the radar after the angry e-mail. It’s unfortunate because I read that Cook’s Source has a nice, wholesome mission to support local, sustainable culinary practices and food. But Cook’s Source is making bad moves right and left: The public e-mail, deleted Facebook page and website, and no public apology. I think Griggs needs to act SOON if she wants to recover her magazine, explaining all past… Read more »
Jenna_Cerruti
Jenna_Cerruti
5 years 6 months ago
This is just awful! Awful approach, awful response. The e-mail response is especially surprising because Gaudio is an active BLOGGER. Cook’s Source should have at least done its research before trying to fly under the radar after the angry e-mail. It’s unfortunate because I read that Cook’s Source has a nice, wholesome mission to support local, sustainable culinary practices and food. But Cook’s Source is making bad moves right and left: The public e-mail, deleted Facebook page and website, and no public apology. I think Griggs needs to act SOON if she wants to recover her magazine, explaining all past… Read more »
Jenna_Cerruti
Jenna_Cerruti
5 years 6 months ago
This is just awful! Awful approach, awful response. The e-mail response is especially surprising because Gaudio is an active BLOGGER. Cook’s Source should have at least done its research before trying to fly under the radar after the angry e-mail. It’s unfortunate because I read that Cook’s Source has a nice, wholesome mission to support local, sustainable culinary practices and food. But Cook’s Source is making bad moves right and left: The public e-mail, deleted Facebook page and website, and no public apology. I think Griggs needs to act SOON if she wants to recover her magazine, explaining all past… Read more »
Jenna_Cerruti
Jenna_Cerruti
5 years 6 months ago
This is just awful! Awful approach, awful response. The e-mail response is especially surprising because Gaudio is an active BLOGGER. Cook’s Source should have at least done its research before trying to fly under the radar after the angry e-mail. It’s unfortunate because I read that Cook’s Source has a nice, wholesome mission to support local, sustainable culinary practices and food. But Cook’s Source is making bad moves right and left: The public e-mail, deleted Facebook page and website, and no public apology. I think Griggs needs to act SOON if she wants to recover her magazine, explaining all past… Read more »
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