Second humor column plagiarist accused

Can’t anyone write an original humor column anymore? Or pay the $10 it costs to buy one? A few weeks ago humor columnist Dave Fox revealed that Jon Flatland had plagiarized his and other writers’ humor columns. Now comes word from humor columnist George Waters that Waters was plagiarized by a journalist named Steve Jeffrey, the editor and publisher of a community weekly called The Anchor in Alberta. Jeffrey also is accused of plagiarizing humor columnist Sheila Moss.

From Poynter:

“Waters read every one of Jeffrey’s columns from the last year and found that in 42 of the 52 issues he looked at, his ‘Sittin’ in the Lighthouse’ column contained material filched from other writers.”


Calgary Herald: Newspaper editor resigns following plagiarism allegations

George Waters’ reaction

The Poynter story

The story from the National Association of Newspaper Columnists, including comments from Erik Deckers and John Brock about having their columns stolen

The story of the first humor column plagiarist

Photo by bettyx1138 


Author: Joe Donatelli

Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles. He publishes The Humor Columnist.

  • Why so many humor column’s being plagiarized? I have always felt it is quite difficult to muster the creative energy to write humor and keep it fresh, engaging, whatever. When my deadline for my little newspaper approaches, I get nervous that I won’t be able to produce, but so far, I always get it done. While I sympathize with other writers who have felt this pressure, I cannot imagine being able to sleep at night stealing other writer’s work, knowing how difficult it can be to produce, and then publishing it with one’s own name? It is mind-boggling how someone could do something so clearly unethical and cowardly. How ’bout this instead — either choose a different career, or sit down and do the work like the rest of us?

  • Lisa, I don’t know, and I won’t make excuses for these people. Why do people steal? It’s the same thing. This is thievery.

  • Pam Frampton

    See also and for more stories on this topic. Columnists in Canada were also plagiarized.