Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dear Craig: thanks for plagiarizing. Love, Swimbrief

Here at the swimbrief, we're proud to be a bunch of "blogging blockheads" (is that what he called us?) writing about swimming in our spare time. We know we're not professionals, in fact, we celebrate it. So you can imagine how proud we are this week to have one our posts paraphrased by the foremost journalist in all of swimming: Craig Lord (link to his article). What's that, he didn't even mention us? EVEN BETTER!

The post I am referring to is last week's "neverwet" nanotechnology post by the Screaming Viking. In it, Viking postulated that the next great suit war could be not over material but what is applied to the material, and included four videos showing some pretty crazy applications of hydrophobic spray. Nine days later, Lord put a post on Swimnews postulating that the next great suit war could be over what is applied to the suits, and linked to the same four videos.

The issue of plagiarism is complicated in the digital age. Usually, it works the other way around. Blogging sites like this are accused by established media of stealing articles. It's true that blogs do a lot of their heavy lifting by commenting on already existing articles. Of course, when I use Swimnews for inspiration to write an article, I always include a link to the Swimnews article I'm referring to and usually mention Lord.

The thing is, I'm really not even mad. Craig plagiarizing us is just another sign of the coming tide in swimming coverage. Established media sites like Swimnews and Swimming World Magazine are growing more desperate by the day. In the past, they had a huge advantage- access. When I started following swimming on the internet in the mid 90s, there was literally no other place on the internet for me to find results and read reports from all the various meets across the world.

All that is changing. Now, at many big meets, live webcasts, scoreboards and results mean you can often have the same experience watching the meet at home as you do at the pool. Furthermore, the stars of swimming are often taking to their own blogs or social media to represent themselves without being filtered by traditional media. Blogs grow more popular as people realize it's not great to have your information filtered by organizations that are beholden to this access.

When I got the chance to help Garrett McCaffrey with floswimming a few years back, we often dreamed of what the site could be. We hoped to take it all the way to the top, but it never happened. One of the biggest mistakes I think we made was shooting for access. As we went along it became frustrating that we would never get it- but the truth was we didn't need it. Swimming World and Swimnews can continue to hoard their access, and grow increasingly irrelevant.

So Craig, thanks, we'll take your plagiarism as a huge compliment. If you need any more story ideas, keep reading.


  1. Still miss FloSwimming

  2. I always thing of Craig Lord as a swimming blogger. Sure he has sources & sometimes writes for actual newspapers, but on Swimnews he definitely doesn't have an editor. His posts have atrocious grammar and tons of typos. Plus they are filled with his opinions rather than reporting facts. Isn't Swimnews really his blog?

  3. Any "feedback" from the powers-that-be at Swimming World and SwimNews yet? Or are they too busy reworking their resumes and pissing themselves over the end of their worlds? (I legitimately think this is probably the first that they're learning about the end of their ventures).

  4. Anyone happen to notice the College Championship Preview in Swimming World's latest issue? In the section on NAIA, they devote two paragraphs on Cal Baptist swimmers and they have a picture of a Cal Baptist swimmer on the preceeding page. The problem is that Cal Baptist is not able to compete in the NAIA Championships because they are transitioning from NAIA to NCAA DII.

    Apparently the Swimming World reporter simply looked at the meet results from te prior year and wrote about the top teams with returning swimmers without thinking it all through. First rate reporting there.

  5. The problem is we don't actually want Swimming World to die. We just want them to do a better job. Its sad that they're so close minded that they won't look at what makes sites like this, the swimmers circle, and formerly floswimming popular and informative, and try and build on it. Instead Peter Busch drones on about boring topics, asks awkward and uncomfortable interview questions and signs off with the same cheesy line, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

  6. Do we really care if Swimming World dies? It's clear that without a house-cleaning, they're not going to improve, and if they have to do a houscleaning, who cares what site name the new people opearte under?

    Did anyone see that SwimNews and SwimmingWorld have circled the wagons? A girl from SwimNews was on the Morning Swim Show today. I smell a war coming on!!

  7. Of course Swimming World has a purpose! It's the Ying to the Swim Brief's Yang. Chris tells us all how it really is without fear of reprisal, so USA Swimming has to use Swimming World to spread propaganda. That leaves us peons confused about what's really going on, and eventually we give up and stop caring - which is exactly what USA Swimming wants us to do.

    Keep up the good work Chris.

    1. You act as if USA Swimming is a big-bad anonymous corporation. Completely wrong. USA Swimming is you. It is a volunteer organization. You have questions/concerns? Ask your volunteer leadership, but better yet, volunteer yourself.

    2. Right. Ol' Wielgus volunteers. Mark Schubert was volunteering. And even if your point is taken at face value, just because a group is led by volunteers doesn't give them the right to do a crappy job, (i.e be corrupt, protect child molesters). get a clue, no one has a problem with Mr. and Mrs. John Doe running the concession stand and officiating at the Fall Classic.

    3. "Volunteer Yourself" - This statement is so nauseating. Nobody needs self-serving, unethical, corrupt individuals as employees or volunteers.

      Many people stop participating because they do not want to be part of a corrupt organization. Others can't volunteer because they are not kissing the right asses. Others are retaliated against because they believe in the organization and refuse to succumb to the corruption.

  8. Swimming World needs to spend less time on "interactive" online magazines, which are a joke, and actually higher some more decent and knowledgeable writers. I would be okay with Swimnews and SWimmingworld collapsing from an entertaining reading standpoint (Craig Lord is obsessed with alliteration and Lohn is just annoying as hell), but as it is they have the best access to international swimming news. TSC is trying to become a viable alternative, but even Braden Keith needs an editor sometimes. Honestly I wouldn't care if Floswimming were still around with interviews and if there were more video coverage in general.