A Final Note On The Lisa R Plagiarism Saga ...

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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As regular readers of ScreenAnarchy are no doubt aware, a couple days ago we posted about one Lisa R, a woman who claimed to be a film columnist for Westwood One. She came to our attention only because she had blatantly plagiarized an interview with David Michôd from the pages of ScreenAnarchy.  Actually written by our own Simon De Bruyn back in early December, Lisa reprinted it as her own work and posted it on a personal blog as an excerpt from the column she claims to write for Westwood One.

We were displeased.

As we dug into this several very odd things became immediately apparent. First, Westwood One primarily serves radio content, so referring to yourself as a columnist in that context seemed rather odd.  Second, one of the outlets she claims to be a writer for - Dark Horizons - said they've never heard of her. Third, while the independent film company she claims to be a partner in does actually exist, there is no mention of her on their website.

All there seemed to actually be of Lisa R was her own website. A website loaded with film reviews and interviews. And when readers started Googling those it turned out ScreenAnarchy was FAR from the only outlet plagiarized by her.  The Guardian, The Hollywood Reporter, Film School Rejects, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Minneapolis Star Tribune and more all had material filched by her. I'd cite examples but both Lisa's blog and her Twitter account have been deleted in the last twelve hours.

What hasn't been deleted, however, is her Facebook account.  Lisa R is one Lisa Rotella.  This is her. Say hello!
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JamieJanuary 29, 2010 12:33 PM

Wonder if that is really her picture....

dmack.caJanuary 29, 2010 1:29 PM

Hopefully she'll never work in this town again... and the web is a big town.

zinjoJanuary 29, 2010 2:02 PM

It is unfortunate that an individual would feel the need to plagiarize other people's work instead of simply re-posting the articles with proper credit.

If she agreed with the reviews, then make a comment to that effect and add your own opinions.

As personally anonymous as the net is, it is also just as public in terms of published works.

I get a strong sense this is the work of a kid who didn't think they'd get caught or at least an immature mind...

JayJanuary 29, 2010 2:48 PM

she's pretty cute, for a thief ...

Andrew MackJanuary 29, 2010 8:47 PM

Awwww. It's gone now. Now I'll never know.

emptykingdomJanuary 30, 2010 11:25 AM

God who cares if she's cute? Her actions are disgusting, and that makes her ugly as hell. Also, it's people like her that degrade the integrity of hardworking bloggers who actually take their work seriously.

Agent WaxJanuary 31, 2010 9:12 PM

I disagree on the immaturity part. To go through all that trouble of plagiarising from so many different sources and claiming to work for all these companies? Too much work just for someone immature just screwing around. Still, she's gone underground now. We don't even know if Kisa Rotello is her real name, nor even what she really looks like.

TravisFebruary 3, 2010 12:33 AM

Not related at all to the Lisa R. debacle, but here is yet another story (from yesterday's Vancouver Sun) about another online film "critic" with questionable journalistic ethics, Paul Fischer:

Sadly, I think online film writers like this are becoming increasingly common, just as legitimate journalists are being forced out of their profession.

Ard VijnFebruary 3, 2010 4:40 AM

That's a very, VERY interesting article, Travis!
Especially for us here at Twitch who are basically all bloggers or former bloggers.

Frankly I didn't even know copying stuff from festival press materials was considered a bad practice. I just never did it because I'd rather spend my time typing down my OWN thoughts or better yet, watch more movies. Whenever I see that the festival blurb is noticeably better than what I myself came up with, I link to it. This is the Internet, after all, so why even go through the bother of copy-pasting?

I can fully understand the criticism and concerns about the rise of bloggers as critics though, especially when voiced by paid journalists. It must be threatening to see that there are literally thousands of people willing to replace you for free, regardless of whether or not they can equal your level of quality (mind you, there are also many "official" movie critics I'm not too impressed with...).

Hopefully we'll always continue to be on the right side of the wrong side!


TravisFebruary 3, 2010 7:56 PM

The problem is that there are bloggers and online film critics out there who are every bit as good, and in many cases better, than traditional print media film critics -- but there are so many thousands of voices that are (at best) amateurish or (at worst) unethical, that a lot of those quality voices (like many of the people who write for Twitch) risk getting drowned out by the deafening din that is the wide open democracy of the internet. That's the price to be paid, but there's a lot to be said for writers improving through collaboration with editors, and that's something that tends to get lost in online vs. print media, and it's what allows buffoons like Lisa R. and Paul Fischer to get away with their grade-school idea of film criticism. Again, I've seen bloggers and website journalists whose work I think is infinitely better than lazy newspaper and magazine critics who've been coasting for years now. Quality in any writing is probably more the exception than the rule, though, I guess.