What To Do When Your Work Is Cribbed & Misattributed?

July 10th, 2013

update: this morning my inbox contained very satisfactory responses from both Time and Mobiledia on this issue, and updates to both sites as well.  

Earlier this afternoon Google Alerts alerted me to this article.

The piece cribs from an article of mine (compare “ handwriting has been around for just 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years” with “Handwriting has only been around for about 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years.”).

It also liberally quotes from my article, but never cites it. The author uses “says,” which indicates to readers she interviewed me. She writes:

“Most of us know, but often forget, that handwriting is not natural,” said Anne Trubek, a writing professor at Oberlin College. “It’s not like seeing or talking, which are innate.”

That line is a quote from the Miller-McCune (now Pacific Standard) piece, as are all the other quotes. That piece is never cited.

The first thing I did  in response was post a comment on Time’s website, at about 4:00 pm. The comment showed up on my screen, with my avatar, and when I checked back it said “30 minutes ago” and had “like” and “share” links by it. But about 10 minutes ago I realized the comment hadn’t been published.  Apparently it is still awaiting moderation? I saw no indication of that. I posted it again at 6:00. (people are telling me it’s a cookie thing–why it looks posted to me but is not) 

In the meantime, back around 4 pm,  I looked around the TIme website and googled to find the editor’s email address. I couldn’t find one,  but I did find his twitter feed, as well as that of the author of the piece. I tweeted to both of them. Haven’t heard back.

I also posted a comment on the site this piece originally appeared at, here. That comment hasn’t shown up yet either. I sent an email to the generic “have a comment?” link on Mobiledia as well. And I let someone at Pacific Standard know.

So: what more should I to do to alert people that my work has been wrongly attributed and downright cribbed? I am sure I could do more. But I resent, really really resent, the time this has taken up already. So I’m taking to my blog.



  1. James replied on July 10th, 2013.

    Sad to say this is what you now expect from Time magazine. They fired all their best people and replaced them with cheap and inexperienced youngsters. And, it appears, lazy and/or unethical.

    Time is now going it alone, having been spun off from the parent company. How to face the brave new world? Fire your best people, hire clowns.

    Still, at least Rick Stengel still gets a fat six-figure salary, eh?

  2. Glad to see this got resolved quickly and you got credited. Makes me all the more appreciative of magazines where the staff masthead and email addresses are easily accessible. I don’t say that just as a freelancer (though it’s helpful in that arena too), but in case there’s an issue you can contact the person you most need to, rather than a social media account that may or may not be as direct.

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