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Famed writer Krip Yuson apologizes for plagiarism

April 7, 2011 6:20am
After being caught by a sports blogger for plagiarizing several paragraphs from a colleague’s basketball article, writer Krip Yuson has owned up to his mistake and apologized.

Jaemark Tordecilla pointed out on his blog firequinito.com on Wednesday that several paragraphs in Yuson’s article on the Philippine Basketball Association in Rogue Magazine, a men’s publication, were nearly identical to passages in a story about the late PBA Commissioner Rudy Salud by sportswriter Rey Joble published on GMA News Online.

Among his many hats in the literary and journalism community, Yuson is an “editor at large" for GMA News Online and he copy edits many of the web site’s sports articles, including the story by Joble.

“I may have mistakenly thought that since I had rewritten Rey Joble's draft for GMA News Online, I was at least part-author of it," Yuson explains in an email to Tordecilla, which was also published Wednesday night on FireQuinito. “While that is moot, I should at the very least have credited Rey for the original draft. Again, my fault. I own up to it."

Yuson’s apology came less than four hours after Tordecilla pointed out the plagiarism:

“I am deeply sorry for all this. I apologize to readers. I apologize to Rogue magazine for apparently passing off someone else's work as solely my own. I also apologize to GMAnews online for failing to properly credit first appearance of that ‘chunk’ on Rudy Salud. The deadline pressure simply overwhelmed me, and maybe, or make that SURELY now, I wasn't thinking right."

One of the best known writers and mentors of literature in the Philippines, Yuson is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Palanca awards, the nation’s most prestigious literature prize. In 2008, his novel The Music Child was short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, a celebrated international competition.

News of Yuson’s transgression spread quickly through the Internet and was greeted by many with shock. His apology came as more than a few fans were curious how he would respond. Most reactions online moments later were sympathetic.

Firequinito reader FTJO commented: “Whew. Call me naive but hey, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. The apology sounds sincere, at least to me. But he's right. There were thousands who were disappointed by the transgression, but for all its worth, I'm one less. :)"

“Still clapping for Krip Yuson's reply against plagiarism accusations," tweeted janinegerz. “Even legends commit mistakes."

Plagiarism in the news

Other cases of alleged plagiarism have been in the news in the last year, stoking a public debate about the proper response by the accused.

In the most prominent case, the Supreme Court exonerated a justice last year after a decision he penned was found by a UP law professor to contain passages strikingly similar to sections in articles by American legal experts.

Academics protested that the High Court’s action would set a poor example for the public, especially students who might think copy-pasting without attribution was rendered acceptable behavior.

Yuson seemed to be conscious of that when he wrote to Tordecilla:

“I know I'll be raked over the coals — for having joined the list of perpetrators of plagiarism. I will just have to bear the blows. Thank you most of all for reminding me of writers' responsibilities, especially in relation to being a good example, as you say, to younger people."

Another of FireQuinito’s readers, doctsakititoy, commented: “That, I believe, is how to make an apology. Admit you made a mistake, offer no self-serving explanations, and be sincerely penitent."


Yuson’s entire response to Jaemark Tordecilla:

Dear Jaemark,

I was alerted by Vanni Sequera (Rogue Magazine editor) a couple of hours ago about your blog, which I read occasionally and appreciate whenever I do so. All Vanni said was that I should look at it. I thank him for the alert.

Upon reading it, I acknowledged that you were right. You ARE right. I was danged stupid — no other way of describing my folly. If anything, the only explanation that I can offer — however lame it may appear — rests on two possibly trivial qualifiers.

First off, to recall, I had nearly completed writing a piece on the PBA, as requested by Vanni for Rogue, when I asked him for more time since Rudy Salud had passed away, and I thought his demise should be included in my article. While I was granted more time, I was still pressed for it, which now seems to have led to this injurious development. My fault, still.

Second, I may have mistakenly thought that since I had rewritten Rey Joble's draft for GMANews online, I was at least part-author of it. While that is moot, I should at the very least have credited Rey for the original draft. Again, my fault. I own up to it. I should have asked Vanni to credit Rey's byline as well.

The further "rewrites" you cited were no attempt to paper or layer over the piece that appeared in GMAnews online, but simply efforts by me to make it read even better, or so I thought at the time. Even when I am rewriting or editing for GMANews online, time still applies so much pressure, so that a reread at another time often tells me to reword a phrase or line.

In any case, I am deeply sorry for all this. I apologize to readers. I apologize to Rogue magazine for apparently passing off someone else's work as solely my own. I also apologize to GMAnews online for failing to properly credit first appearance of that "chunk" on Rudy Salud. The deadline pressure simply overwhelmed me, and maybe, or make that SURELY now, I wasn't thinking right.

Most of all, I apologize to Rey Joble for not crediting him with the original draft. Jaemark, you are very right in saying that Rey is a hard worker, and that he worked hard on the piece, inclusive of the interviews he conducted.

Indeed, it was a terrible failure of judgment on my part, and I initially shuddered at the prospect of losing my friendship with Rey for having done him in, in a way.

As I was writing this, however, mercifully, Rey Joble responded to my attempts to reach him. I will not say here that he's absolved me of my stupidity, but I am glad that he's assured me that he understands what happened, and that there is nothing for him to forgive, and that we remain friends. For which, I thank him most profusely, however I feel even more of a heel for my transgression.

I know I cannot say the same to or of readers, as well as the entities involved — that they should also say there is nothing to forgive. On the contrary, it's a whole lot. I will beat my breast for a good long time, make that a long awful time. I just didn't think right that hour I submitted the piece by e-mail.

Thank you for the shout-out, Jaemark. I know I'll be raked over the coals — for having joined the list of perpetrators of plagiarism. I will just have to bear the blows. Thank you most of all for reminding me of writers' responsibilities, especially in relation to being a good example, as you say, to younger people.

Maybe I've gotten too old and jaded, maybe I'm overworked, maybe deadline pressure got to me, but still, I should have credited my partner Rey Joble for that piece.

Sincerely,

Krip Yuson

7:03pm, April 6, 2011


- GMA News



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