Paper apologises for lifting rival's stories word for word

The editor of the Wiltshire Times has warned a new rival weekly not to lift stories from his newspaper.

Toby Granville was astonished to find stories and quotes lifted from his paper word for word in the Warminster and Westbury Standard, a Northcliffe paid-for weekly.

After complaining to Standard editor Joanna Roughton he has received an apology and a pledge that lifting will not happen again.

When reading the new paper Granville spotted an article headlined “Residential Home Would Generate Jobs”. He said that, apart from the intro, the story was identical to the page lead in the Wiltshire Times headlined “Scheme To Build Home For Elderly”.

Granville also discovered that the Standard had lifted direct quotes from other articles, including a page lead headlined “Death Valley Funds Delayed By Red Tape”.

He noticed that a quote in the Standard from a police sergeant was lifted from a Wiltshire Times article the previous week.

The quote was not given in a statement but had been taken down over the phone by Wiltshire Times series reporter Andy Cryer.

Granville sent an e-mail to Roughton warning her he would take legal advice if this should happen again and would also bill the paper for any material taken without permission.

He said: “They launched to take our market and revenue and now they are taking our stories. I told Joanna imitation is the highest form of flattery, but if they do this again we will charge them word for word.

“I have accepted her apology on this occasion but will be keeping a close eye on what they are publishing.”

Roughton said she was angry and concerned about what had happened and said it was a matter she took very seriously.

She told Press Gazette: “It is certainly not our policy to lift stories word for word and I had no intention of letting it happen. Steps have been taken to ensure that this will not be repeated.”

By Sarah Lagan

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