Spectator Associate Plagiarizes NYT Article

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Update 2: Jade is no longer a Speccie. Spec just updated their editors’ note to add that “we have absolutely no tolerance for plagiarism, and Jade’s relationship with Spectator has been terminated.”

Update: Bonacolta’s position, according to Spec’s printed masthead, is currently Arts & Entertainment Associate, which is apparently the 3rd (and lowest) tier of editors within the Spectator hierarchy. In a statement to Bwog concerning Bonacolta’s future in that role, Sarah Darville, Spec’s Editor-in-Chief, said, “We’re still reviewing her work for Spec, and will make a decision upon completion of that review.” (Our link)

Looks like Speccies are earning quite the bad reputation for breaches of journalistic ethics. In an article published yesterday titled “Frank Lloyd Wright archives arrive at CU,” Jade Bonacolta apparently published three paragraphs under her own name that closely mirror three paragraphs written by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times. Spec retracted the article within minutes of realizing it had been plagiarized. Poynter then examined Bonacolta’s work at another publication, and found similar results. Does this mean that we can turn Spec into a 3-story Pinkberry?

The three relevant paragraphs were conveniently collated by IvyGate (their emphasis):

The first:


Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for saving everything, from his personal correspondence to scribbles on Plaza Hotel napkins. Since Wright’s death in 1959, these relics have been locked in storage.


The Modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t a hoarder. But he did save just about everything — whether a doodle on a Plaza Hotel cocktail napkin of an imagined city on Ellis Island, his earliest pencil sketch of the spiraling Guggenheim Museum or a model of Broadacre City, his utopian metropolis. Since Wright’s death in 1959 those relics have been locked in storage at his former headquarters —Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wis., and Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The second:


Among the University’s future collection are the famous original drawings for Wright’s Fallingwater, a home designed amid a rushing stream in Pennsylvania, and the Robie House, a Prairie-style building on the campus of the University of Chicago.


Among the gems in that material are drawings for Wright’s Fallingwater, a home cantilevered over a stream in Mill Run, Pa.; the Robie House, a Prairie-style building on the University of Chicago campus; Unity Temple, a Unitarian Universalist church in Oak Park, Ill.; and Taliesin West.

The third:


While Wright is typically thought of as a lonely genius, you move him into the Museum of Modern Art, and he’s dialoguing with Le Corbusier in the company of Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Louis Kahn,’ said Barry Bergdoll, chief curator of architecture and design at the MoMA.


While Wright is typically thought of as ‘a lonely genius,’ Mr. Bergdoll said, ‘you move him into the Museum of Modern Art, and he’s dialoguing with Le Corbusier in the company of Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto and Louis Kahn.’


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  1. Oh boy

    Brace yourselves. A publications war is coming.

  2. really?  

    "Does this mean that we can turn Spec into a 3-story Pinkberry?"

    Bwog, don't hide your glee—let us know how you really feel!

    And next time, do the courtesy of also pointing out that the article was retracted the same day, before the IvyGate post, and letting us know what Spec's editors had to say.

  3. ?

    why does the headline say "spectator editor"? Is Jade an editor or one of their rando writers?

  4. this  

    is the most tabloidy bullshit i have ever read.

    bwog, why don't you focus on actual news rather than becoming columbia's gossip girl

  5. Anonymous

    I'm waiting for spec sucks guy to bombard us with comments now

  6. Anonymous

    Wow, I'm impressed kids, I thought only Harvard and Yale were guilty of cheating and plagerism

  7. Anonymous

    could really use a new movie theater -- the spec office is pretty big, right?

  8. PrezNope

    And in typical journalism fashion, Bonacolta will go on to a prestigious internship at the Village Voice.

  9. Philosoraptor

    If plagiarism occurs in a newspaper, and no one's there to read it, does it make a damn bit of difference?

  10. The Dark Hand  

    They expect somebody in the wreckage...

    just one more pawn to take a fall for the spec bigwigs. OPEN YOUR EYES SHEEPLE.


  11. Anonymous

    she's barnard...

    • Anonymous

      She is from Barnard. Not Columbia. There's a fucking difference.

    • Why is this getting downvoted?

      OP is making a distinction/correction to what had previously been misreported, absent any sort of negative implication that everyone seems to have placed on his comment. I don't get this school. I understand why no one likes the condescending OMG COLUMBIA IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN BARNARD *ssholes, but why everyone gets their panties in a bunch when someone points out the simple fact that yes, Barnard is a legal affiliate so yes, there is a distinction, is beyond me.

  12. Anonymous

    "spectator totters"

  13. BwogWhore

    In defense of the Spec, this was the first time I've read it this year.

    Also, shouldn't they be more aspirational? Maybe crib the New Yorker next time? Or if you're really feeling high brow, Harper's.

    • tangential conspiracy theorist

      Funny you should bring that up. Tons o' ex-Speccies working at the New Yorker, and Harper's prez is a Spec alum and on the Spec's board. Maybe the girl wouldn't have cribbed from the Times if Frankel were still there...

  14. Anonymous  

    what a nasty piece of shit bwog has become. I'm not even from spec and this is a pretty douchey move, especially for the girl. If this was CJR or CPR, Bwog wouldn't have posted this.

  15. KJ

    R u f***ing kidding me. Get over it, its not a big deal. Its just Columbia Spec, who gives a shit.

  16. Anonymous

    Isn't she a Barnard student and not Columbia?

  17. Anonymous  

    she doesnt even go here... whatever.

  18. anon

    Bwog, try and dial down the assholery a bit.

  19. Anonymous

    I think the three-story Pinkberry comment was highly uncalled for, but blogs, websites and publications report on other publications' plagiarism all the time. Usually it's higher profile stuff like Lehrer, etc., but still I don't think this was out of line. And Bwog IS about campus gossip, to a point. I think this is fair game.

  20. CC '14

    I think we are inclined to be spiteful when someone is caught plagiarizing because those of us who work hard to present honest work in class and out of it don't like the idea that perhaps there are people out there who don't get caught, and get credit for work that isn't theirs. Not saying that's wrong or right, just observing.

    That said, the third example isn't plagiarism if it was cited... if not, well, she was really dumb, because who's going to believe that she got an exclusive quote from a curator at the MoMA?

    • Anonymous  

      tangential, but that curator was my internship supervisor. He would have been happy to give a quote to Columbia's newspaper. After all, he's a columbia alum.

    • anon  

      Yeah, but it's a little rich coming from any publication, since Columbia is filled to the fucking brim with cheaters. The number of people (from all the undergraduate schools) I've seen openly cheating in class, on papers, and exams, who talk openly about having cheated in high school and continuing to do so in college, and the number of people who abuse adderall without prescriptions or get "extra help" from their friends is unbelievable. Hell, the loser who wrote this piece probably has cheated as well. I agree that Spec should have just quietly settled the situation. They fired her, replaced the article with an editorial note, and sent an email to the entire Spec staff explaining what had happened, which seems appropriate; gleefully abusing her online like Bwog is doing is straight up douchey.

  21. BARNARD  

    students should not be allowed to write for the COLUMBIA spectator

    • Right.

      You specifically should get the fuck off our campus and out of our classes, clubs, and dining halls.

      All others still welcome.

    • BC '15

      The Columbia Spectator is legally independent of the university, so your argument is invalid. Even then, Barnard is part of Columbia University, so we can do everything that the people at CC, SEAS, and GS can do. It is idiotic for you to assume that the actions of one individual reflect an entire school of educated people. To generalize an entire student body from your comment, everyone at your college is a self-righteous, bigoted asshole.

    • Lol  

      Barnard students make up probably a third of the Spectator staff. It's not like SEAS is interested in stepping up to the plate, or anything.

  22. BC '15

    I am proud of my school, but I'm tired of being treated like a second class citizen. Based on the way that you treat others, I wish I didn't have to associate with you, but that's not my call. I applied early decision to Barnard, because I knew where I wanted to go. This animosity is ridiculous, because last I checked-- you guys take our classes too.

  23. Anonymous  

    I don't think it was classiest move of Spec (or Bwog, really) to identify the girl's name. She made a mistake, Spec handled it --- why do we need to point any more fingers?

    • Uh...

      Two things. 1, Spec didn't release her name, IvyGate did. 2. Second, when Spec did handle the issue, they had to retract her article -- how were they supposed to do that without releasing her name? It would have been dishonest to just quietly "disappear" the article with no mention of why. I don't think keeping her name out of the discussion was ever even a possibility, for any of the organizations that have written on this (IvyGate, Spec, or Bwog).

      • Anonymous  

        IvyGate released her name, but Spec chose again to mention it in their coverage, as did Bwog. I obviously don't think they should've "quietly disappeared" the article, but they could've at least chosen to call her by her title -- "the arts and entertainment associate" or "the article's author". It certainly wouldn't have given her anonymity; but it would at least put the onus on the reader to find out who she was. She messed up and Spec handled it quickly --- I don't think there's a need for a public shaming.

  24. The Gray Fox  

    Barnard students are not Columbia students, and this plagiarist should get expelled from Barnard for this.

    • Ouch  

      Thank God you don't work for the Barnard administration.

      One little plagiarism for a campus newspaper seems extreme for an exodus. I could understand a class assignment, but the poor girl will now be considered a plagiarist for the rest of her time at Columbia/Barnard, is expelled from any campus publication, and will end up interning for Village Voice. She has enough to deal with than being expelled from a so-so school.

  25. The baselessly lengthy rebuttal, CC style  

    Umm, get real. We take Barnard classes because a) they're easier versions of an analogous Columbia course and/or b) they're eclectic courses with typical liberal-artsy-fartsy names like "History of Social Dancing: Dance Crazes from the Waltz to Flash Mobs" and "Body Histories: The Case of Footbinding" whose bizarre names alone often compel one to register--and which Barnard is only able to offer because Columbia is across the street making sure that classes you could actually mention in a job interview without incurring derisive laughter are being conducted. Don't get me wrong, I've taken many, many Barnard classes and will continue to do so on account of my major, and I love your school very much so (especially the Vag, a bonafide campus gem!), but this is the truth.

    Furthermore, having taken many a class at Barnard, I've had the misfortune on several occasions of taking courses with the types of Barnard stereotypes that mar your reputation: the utterly dimwitted simpleton who'd be left to drown in her own ineptitude had she been accepted across the street instead (and who will earn a degree with Columbia's name on it and use that little detail for the purposes of general self-aggrandizement throughout her post-graduate life), the overly self-righteous gender-fluid pansexual Native American neo-Marxist protopunk yadda-yadda-yadda from Darien, CT who views every class discussion as an opportunity to tout her worldviews through barely-veiled tangential polemics, the uber-nice and understanding professors who allow--nay, encourage!--the aforementioned stupidity and righteous indignation day in and day out despite the fact that most of the students who actually go to class feel cheated by the remarkable amount of time wasted by these hindrances to meaningful enlightenment and progress. Columbia condescends to you precisely because your school is populated (not necessarily by a majority, but at the very least by an extremely loud and visible minority) by these sorts of people, and few things are sillier to the scholar-elite than the ostentatiously simple or the baselessly and excessively indignant.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say there's ANIMOSITY on Columbia's part--much like one might consider an airheaded/obnoxious/trashy/socially inept/skanky/emotionally immature little sister, we view you more with a combination of pity, a sense of superiority in regards to both mental development and overall tact, an annoyance with your incessant obnoxious behavior and unabating predilections for contrived and often vacuous displays of indignation and self-proclaimed anti-conformist uniqueness, and yet alongside all this, a real (though by no means overwhelming) appreciation of your quirkiness, eccentricity, and seemingly genuine desire for meaningful self-progression. We don't often tell you this, though, because much like younger siblings, you already things your hottest shit this side of the Mason-Dixon, and that's precisely the problem. And ultimately, just as said younger sister often seethes at the just thought of her patronizing elder sibling, it more likely to be the case that Barnard harbors animosity towards us....

    For what it's worth though, there's a conflict of interests present when one exhaustively proclaims her pride in the autonomy of her institution while simultaneously seeking the acknowledgement of an externality. If Barnard is the autonomous institution you claim it to be, then there need be no acknowledgement of Columbia or any other institution existing without; your supposed argument of having "second-class citizenship" becomes entirely untenable when you cease conceiving of Barnard as a part of a whole and start treating it as an entity in itself--something your administration makes a clear and concerted effort to do. Any indignant feelings of externally imposed inferiority that you harbor stems from the fact that you do indeed recognize that Barnard is Columbia's sister school, that it is a part of something greater and has developed a certain relationship vis-a-vis it's counterparts. You are the little sister with the lighter admission standards, easier classes, and higher proportion of annoying students--of course true Columbians don't think very highly of you. Had you known Barnard as well as you say you did when you applied early, you'd have been quite aware of the Columbia-Barnard relationship, a long-standing dynamic that both preceded and will certaintly outlast your piddlingly short stint here. You'd also know that these sorts of unnecessarily emotional tirades against what are in reality rather trivial misgivings are precisely the sort of silliness on which Columbia's condescension towards Barnard is based and propagated. The best things you could do if you really want greater respect would be to accept the schools' already-existing dynamic from a cooly distant perspective, embracing it as just another unique charisteristic of the University culture without necessarily investing yourself emotionally in it, and to tell your dimwitted classmates to go google the basic high school material they apparently have never heard of on their own time and your inappropriately self-righteous social activist peers to shut the fuck up so we can get back to the relevant discussion. And while you're at it, resign yourself to the fact that when a Barnard girl does something really stupid like plagiarize from arguably the most significant and widely consumed news source on the planet, your reputation as Columbia's dumb little sister will inevitably resurface into the discourse, serve as the source for some meaningless though thoroughly entertaining deprecation, and eventually fade to insignificance. It's like when a black person in baggy clothes mugs someone on the street--it's simply stereotype confirmation, and you know going in that that's the response you're gonna get and there's nothing you can do about it EXCEPT, if your goal is to help eliminate the stereotype, to hold yourself in a way that won't validate it. The paradox worth understanding here: yet another Barnard girl's fiery proclamation of discontent serves precisely to validate and propogate the treatment engendering that discontent in the first place; these polemics are just the sorts of unappealing yet totally unsurprising things that justify your disreputable intrauniversity standing; the attempted solution is part of the original problem; möbius strips of cause and effect ensue; and so on, ad nauseaum.

    That is all.

    Emotionally detached, socially observant Senior

    • CC '14  

      First of all, clearly not emotionally detached. This comment was longer than my last final paper.

      Second, someone was really enjoying and wanting to show off his/her knowledge of keyboard ∑ymböl$.

      Third, this shit is way too long to read. TL;DR.
      TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
      And sorry I could not travel both
      And be one traveler, long I stood
      And looked down one as far as I could
      To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

      Then took the other, as just as fair,
      And having perhaps the better claim,
      Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
      Though as for that the passing there
      Had worn them really about the same, 10

      And both that morning equally lay
      In leaves no step had trodden black.
      Oh, I kept the first for another day!
      Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
      I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

      I shall be telling this with a sigh
      Somewhere ages and ages hence:
      Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.

    • tangential conspiracy theorist

      That may have been a tl;dr, but having been dumb enough to 'r,' all I can really do is point to is this:
      "you already things your hottest shit."
      and tell you what an amusing creature you are.

    • The Gray Fox  

      Brilliant. I'm glad someone finally stood up and told it like it is. Bravo, my friend!

    • CC13

      This is REALLY embarrassing. Seriously, calm down

    • Anon  

      You don't have any friends, do you?

    • Yes  

      PLEASE let's fight about this again!

    • Harry Lime
      Last Revised November 2008

      Academic Structure of the University

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      The Arts and Sciences consists of seven Faculties. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which is led by the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, coordinates the programs of the other six Faculties – Columbia College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Schools of General Studies, International and Public Affairs, the Arts, and Continuing Education – as well as the 30 departments in the Arts and Sciences, and addresses questions of common concern.

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      Each Faculty consists of the President, the Provost, the dean, the Vice President for Arts and Sciences or the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, where appropriate, and those officers of instruction and of administration who are appointed by the Trustees on the nomination of the Faculty. The specific eligibility requirements for membership in each Faculty are set forth in its stated rules. These requirements will differ from one Faculty to another, but full-time officers of instruction customarily are nominated for membership if they perform at least half of their instructional responsibilities within the Faculty. In addition, if the stated rules permit, retired faculty who are offering instruction as special lecturers may be nominated for the period of their appointments if they were members of the Faculty immediately before retirement. Part-time officers of instruction may also be eligible for nomination to a Faculty after their second consecutive year of appointment. No officer who is a candidate for a degree or certificate may simultaneously be a member of the Faculty in which it is given.

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      The University also has three administrative boards that serve as surrogate Faculties for special instructional programs that are not directly supervised by a single Faculty. The Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also serves as the Administrative Board of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for the purpose of supervising programs leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees outside the departments of the Graduate School. In cooperation with the Faculty of Teachers College, the Administrative Board for the Master of Arts in Teaching supervises programs leading to that degree. The Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law provides for the instructional needs of the Schools of Law and International and Public Affairs in the laws of foreign countries.

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      The Faculties that make up the Arts and Sciences draw on 30 departments of instruction. By tradition, these are grouped into six divisions. The Humanities are composed of 13 departments:
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      Five of the six professional Faculties on the Morningside Heights campus are also simultaneously departments:
      ¦ Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
      ¦ Graduate School of Business
      ¦ Graduate School of Journalism
      ¦ School of Law
      ¦ School of Social Work

      The sixth, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, includes nine academic departments:
      ¦ Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
      ¦ Biomedical Engineering
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      Another 17 form the Clinical Health Sciences:
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    • Anonymous

      Such was their funeral of Hector, breaker of horses.

  26. Anonymous  



  27. Anonymous

    Well, she lists Barnard on her Facebook.

  28. Bwog

    "We've updated our comment policy".

  29. Anonymous

    Actually, Bwog lost all reputation as a "news source" last year during all that CUCR crap.
    And with this post, looks like they've solidified themselves as the Perez of Columbia. Thanks, Bwog!

  30. errr  

    The fuck would Bwog know about journalistic integrity? Its writers post anonymously. In the instance of any Bwog writer plagiarizing, (which has definitely happened, as surely as it's happened for every publication under the sun,) it would never be reported by other publications, nor would it be possible for your writers' names be dragged through the mud. Bwog wouldn't announce it either. Effing please. And didn't the current Bwog EIC get her position only because she was the former EIC's roommate or something?

  31. Anonymous

    To all Barnard defenders:

    The articles reporting this identified her as a Columbia student, and even one headline read, "Columbia Editor Plagiarizes..."

    If you're so proud, please email them to correct their error.

    • uhhhhh

      maybe she was referred to as "columbia editor" because it's the 'Columbia' spectator, and columbia spectator editor is too long. either way you're a troll, the distinction between barnard/columbia when talking about spec is shitballs boring, and we're all just trying to graduate.

      tl;dr you're an asshole and this girl was stupid.

      (barnard) 2013 FTW

  32. Anonymous  

    talk about the issue actually at hand.

    also, who figured this out? Ivygate says a tipster alerted them- a columbia student? but who actually reads the spec? etc.

  33. Anonymous  

    hahaha the pinkberry line is hilarious. everyone chill out

  34. Barnard '15

    I agree thst someone should correct the error and make people aware that she goes to Barnard. If we're proud of our school we are also willing to acknowledge when one of our students makes a mistake. I didn't have time to read all the comments that came before, but I just wanted to point out that I believe (although I am not positive, correct me if I am wrong) Barnard is the only school affiliated with Columbia University that has an honor code that students must sign at the beginning of every year during online registration. We also have an honor board made up of students who work together to keep the student body accountable for plagiarism and maintain academic integrity. We take plagiarism very seriously.

  35. Anonymous  

    Is that neccessary? If she were a CC student, would you use that against them?

  36. BC 15  

    Bwog, was it necessary to name the offender in your article? Upon further investigation, yes, you could find out who she was. But now this poor woman has the whole Bwog troll community on her tail. Isn't it bad enough that she has to go through this?

    If other people disagree, feel free to state your opinion. But try to keep your opinions independent from which school she goes to.

  37. Van Owen

    She's a Barnard student. Get it right.

  38. someone's  

    insecurity is showing

  39. Anon  

    Classy Columbian is classy.

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