Julia Allison Can’t Write Even When She’s Plagiarizing


Julia Allison continues to prove that she has never written anything original in her life.

A commenter has pointed out that he Lonelygirl “article” sounds remarkably like the Lonelygirl15 Wiki entry. Note the similarities between her statement:

“Posed somewhere in the heartland, Bree’s storylines began basic–the stuff of typical teen angst–but quickly morphed into a bizarre narrative of cult practices and the mysterious disappearance of her parents.”

And the original Wiki entry:

“At first, the videos covered normal, everyday subject matter, as the title character dealt with typical teenage angst, but quickly morphed into a bizarre narrative that portrayed her dealings with secret occult practices within her family and included the mysterious disappearance of her parents after she refused to attend a “secret” ceremony prescribed by the leaders of the family’s cult.”

This is basically a cut-paste-replace hack job. Julia Allison is a plagiarizing asshole who in her entire writing career has never penned an original thought. This is how many times she’s been caught basically copying someone else’s work and passing it off as her own? When is she going to be called to task for this shit? Is she just going to continue to get away with this, over and over and over?

The really sad part is that even when stealing her content practically verbatim, she can’t manage to write well.  What a schiester. Hey WaPo, congrats on your new “syndicated columnist”, the world’s biggest faker. She’s sure to help your paper seal a reputation as trustworthy and ethical. What a crock of shit.



  1. I said this in previous post, but this is so reckless and suicidal it’s almost like she did it on purpose. To sabotage herself. And get out of this situations she’s in. I mean, to crib wiki for Newsweek? Crazy. Even she must have known on some level she couldn’t get away with this.

    • I had a similar thought. This is self sabotage at its finest. Especially with her history of the Georgetown plagiarism flap, Julia Allison couldn’t hope to finesse her deadline by lifting from the MOST PUBLIC SOURCE IN THE DIGITAL UNIVERSE and hope to get away with it. Astounding–even for Princess Peltsalot.

  2. Oh Julia. I am in college and I try harder than you, a grown woman almost a decade older than me.

  3. Good grief. She is so predictable. the WaPo company owns Newsweek, hope they are on top of this.

    • Me too. You’re doing great here despite being under the weather, partypants – other people might have tried to proclaim a day or mourning and rest for the community 🙂 Hope you’ll feel better soon.

      • I am having a hard time believing that Partypants is under the wether, because she has not posted any pictures of herself in a slanket with a thermometer hanging out of her mouth with a boo-boo face pout. Also, we have no idea what she is eating, we have no idea if she is demanding restitution, and we have no idea if she is shirking obligations due to her illness. Normal sick people don’t just hole up, take medicine, and try to feel better! Quit faking Partypants!!

  4. i am ashamed to admit i waste an awful lot of time following her life, and given my phd in JAB i reckon julia’s not stupid enough to plagiarize again like that. but (particularly considering that the writing of the lonely girl piece sounds nothing like her, and also how she’s been citing/quoting tim ferriss a fair amount lately) i think that she decided to “sub-contract” the article out to someone else, and didn’t take the time to let them know that they ought to be extra-careful about the whole not-passing-off-others’-work-as-your-own thing.

    • That’s an interesting theory. Actually wouldn’t be too surprised if she farmed this out to an intern.

      She probably did the Obama Girl one herself, though, since it’s dripping with jealous rage.

    • This is crazy, but Julia is crazy: Could she have plagiarized to get some attention? She had to know that someone would call her out on this. This was probably done to get back on Gawker’s radar. Consequences be damned. Actually that’s not true, she never faces consequences. So yeah, I am betting that this was done on purpose. She is that sick.

      • Nah, I don’t think she’s that cunning anymore. My completey unsubstantiated theory is that she is approaching the point where her mechanisms to keep her glaringly obvious psychological problems at bay cease to be effective. She very likely really left this assignment to the very last minute and then desperately had to find some way to get it in in order to save face or something. The desperate mind does not always work rational.

      • Yeah, wasn’t she already past deadline on this when she handed it in, and she didn’t even begin writing it until several days after it was due?

    • Also, whatever she has submitted or completed seems to just disappear from her mind. I doubt that she even remembers she wrote, no wait. Let me rephrase that, submitted this piece.

    • Yeah, and it’s exactly why crowdsourcing your magazine’s content from bloggers, etc. can blow up in a publication’s face. Trim your staff to the bone, throw the copy editors overboard, bring in amateurs like Julia Allison to produce your content….it’s a formula for this kind of embarrassment.

      • And do I feel a slight sense of glee because of this? Most definitely. Media managers – if you a) put your fate into the hands of shady, clueless and out of touch consultants who do everything to make your format as annoying, boring and predictable as possible and b) look for the cheapest possible way to fill the parts of your publication not already taken up by ads, this is what you get. End of story, well done, newsweek and good luck washington post, if there is any truth to this rumour.

    • It’s a Newsweek/Facebook co-branded thing, is that Randi Z. friendship the gift that keeps on giving?

  5. Someone needs to notify the powers that be at the Washington Post. Think of yourself as a good samaritan coming to the aid of an industry in crisis.

  6. This was a great find — and in record time, too!

    What’s even more awesome is that everybody who reads her “piece” today will see the similarity, because it’s been documented in the first comment underneath her paragraph at the Newsweek site. Uh, I heard.

  7. Not for anything, I would never closely plagarize like that on a college paper….. to do so in NEWSWEEK! She is bonkers!

      • I never, ever email anyone to report her but I had to for this kind of infraction. Also, I have software at home (made for teachers and university professors) that will run her article against other published pieces on the web, looking for simularities. I will be happy to do this when I get home.

    • Servicey!

      Here’s my email to them, using her name in the subject line


      How Low Can Newsweek Go? Julia Allison, That’s How Low

      To publish the “work” of a known plagiarist and liar is beneath the respect I once held for “Newsweek.”

      Whoever thought it was a good idea to farm out articles to Julia Allison (nee Julia Baugher) should be fired immediately. Besides her awful style of “writing,” she lifted parts of Wikipedia directly into her article about “Lonelygirl15” http://2010.newsweek.com/top-10/internet-memes/lonelygirl15.html

      From Ms. Baugher’s “article:


      From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonelygirl15#History :


      If you ever wish to be considered a reputable publication, you will think twice before allowing the likes of Ms. Baugher to grace your pages ever again.

  8. Yeah, I used to teach undergrads (as a TA), and I would fail them for this much. Has she really just gotten away with this shit her entire life?

    • yeah, *this* is what’s motivating me to come out of hiding and comment. Former TA here, and I hate this kind of thing. Is she crazy?

      • Agreed, Anon. I had a series of students do this during my first summer as a TA. And then every semester thereafter (often from Wikipedia – shocker!!).

        It completely changed my mind about a career in academia.

    • I a teach too – about to prep tomorrows lesson actually. (Yay teachers and TA’S!) This is BEYOND THE PALE even for this idiot. She’s got a self destructive streak a mile wide.

    • So it wasn’t just me. They have indeed been deleted. Good job, Newsweek. Now go away and think about what you did by paying the plagiarising donkey and giving it exposure.

    • This is my comment. I am sure it will be deleted in about 2 minutes. Julia and Newsweek deleting comments since 2008.

      Wow. I was expecting to see an essay from Jason Blair after I read Julia Allison’s blurb. Why are news magazines dying again? And stealing from wikipedia of all places! Nice work if you can get it Julia. I mean nice work if you can STEAL it.

    • You have to click the red “Admin” link and log out if you’re logged into their “Echo” system. Boy, what a crappy set-up they’ve got there.

    • This is how I’m able to see the comments:
      Click the “1-10” link & then backpage to the article ~ you should see three comments below.

      Yeah, it’s all How Fuck to the nnnth over there, so I did a screen-grab of the comments in case they really do get deleted.

  9. That is a Vitra ball chair and it is way too good for the likes of you, you skanky bitch. Get your dirty feet off it immediately.

  10. Seriously…this chick is beyond a hack. My friend is seriously thinking of releasing her wack crazy texts to him but like to other lowly joe blows he doesn’t want the attention. I think Jordan/Meghan just must know the hack or they’re all in a circle jerk of just using each other. No matter what…chicks like this get far, with their ruined reputations in tow.

  11. Newsweek says it’s not plagiarism, and that I’m a liar 🙁

    Hello, thank you for your notes regarding Julia Allison’s brief essay about LonelyGirl15 in our “20/10: The Decade In Rewind” package. I am the editor of Newsweek.com and I take allegations of plagiarism very seriously, so I wanted to make sure this matter was addressed swiftly.

    Let me say upfront that I do not see anything approaching evidence of plagiarism in this matter, and there are elements of your accusations that make me suspicious about the sincerity of their origin. For one thing, we received three emails on this matter less than an hour apart—two of them within five minutes of each other–suggesting a coordination of effort. But more importantly, all of your emails are, somewhat ironically, themselves awfully similar: you each allege gross plagiarism, but only cite one line from the piece—and the same line in each case—as duplicative. As for the line in question, while there is certainly some resemblance, there are only a few words of precise overlap. And the construction of that particular phrase (“quickly morphed into a bizarre narrative”) is reasonably banal. Also, in my experience, thumbnail descriptions of plot or storyline are frequently familiar and repetitive, which makes sense because they are all distillations of the same thing. Just look at several movie reviews of the same film: the paragraphs where the critics summarize the plot often resemble each other because they are all describing the same storyline. But vaguely similar plot summary is not plagiarism. The word “plagiarism” connotes a theft of ideas and / or creative expression. I see no evidence of such behavior here.

    Additionally, we have scoured the rest of Ms. Allison’s essay, as well as the Wikipedia entry about LonelyGirl15, and we have found nothing that approximates lifted work. Just to be sure, we also checked Ms. Allison’s essay for us about Obama Girl in the same “20/10” list, and again we found nothing at all suspicious.

    Thanks again for your note, and please let me know if there is additional evidence supporting your charge that we have overlooked. As I said, plagiarism is very serious matter and we insist on being exhaustive about investigating such charges. But if the totality of your case rests on this single sentence, then I will consider the matter closed and thank you for your feedback.


    • He wrote 369 words.
      Julia’s lonelygirl article has 263 words.

      i think it’s time that the donk gives up writing.

    • It’s not like they are going to admit it. In the current media climate people cover their asses like a first time federal prisoner in the shower. People get shitcanned for allowing things like that to go on.

      This is why I don’t really support emailing/notifying sponsors or editors Julia is associated with. They don’t care, they don’t want to hear it, and when 15 people email in under 30 minutes it sounds like a smear campaign and is dismissed.

      • Agreed. This is the kind of thing that Julia will point to as evidence of the evil nature of RBNSers who just want to see her crash and burn. She can use stuff like this as a blanket excuse to be generally dismissive of what goes on here. And I HATE it so much when she does that. It makes my head explode. I don’t want my head to explode anymore.

    • If I were you I would reply back that yes, there was a coordinated effort to alert newsweek.com, as people on another website (RBNS ) were talking about the article, and decided to spea up. The implication that there is something unethical about that is insulting. It’s also gratuitous. Really? A complaint is not legitimate or sincere if it is made by a group? That commenters have no credibility if they have criticised JA before? Huh?

      I would also disagree that “morphed” and “narrative” are banal words that could not be avoided in doing a synopsis as they suggest. I think to the laymen the single sentence she cites is striking. I think it’s the kind of obvious cut-and-paste job that regular readers really hate. I wonder if the newsweek.com editor would be willing to kick the complaints up to the newsweek ombudsman.

      • Just sent him this as a reply, mostly so we don’t all look like, well, fat jealous losers in our basements:

        Hi Devin,

        First of all, thank you for getting back to me! Just to clarify, I
        pointed out the Wikipedia similarity to other readers of Ms. Allison’s
        blog. If they emailed you as well, it was on their own.

        If you think this meets acceptable journalism standards, then I won’t
        push any further. It reads to me like Ms. Allison wrote her article by
        making slight changes to the Wikipedia article, which would indeed
        count in the academic community, at least, as plagiarism. This,
        combined with past allegations of Ms. Allison’s rumored penchant for
        “borrowing” from others’ writing (details here, among other places:
        http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/display.php?id=27944 ) made me
        think it was worth bringing the similarities to your attention.

        In any case, all the best.

      • I sent him this:

        “So let me get this straight… A complaint is not valid if it is sent by a group a people? Sorry we care so much about this kind of thing. If you are ok with your writers plagiarizing, then who are we to complain? Carry on then. I guess you are just happy to have a job at a magazine. How is your industry doing? Not too god huh? I wonder why. Oh well. Keep hiring the Julia Allisons’ of the world.”

    • It’s nice that the editor responded at all, with a non-generic form letter, and actually attempted to look into your claims. I even think their argument is fair enough.

      Too bad about the incredibly bitchy tone, though. Way to alienate someone who actually bothered to read their shitty rag.

      • Yeah really. And honestly…does anyone even take Newsweek seriously? I don’t think I have seen that magazine outside of dentist offices. It’s basically just a more full-of-itself People magazine as far as credibility goes.

      • The bitchy tone — that’s probably what made me the most upset. But hey, it’s not like he’s going to admit to it. Shrug.

    • That’s pathetic. He knows damn well it’s plagiarism, just doesn’t want to have to admit it. Very sad. Those (not-so-few) “few words of precise overlap” are contained within sentence structure and idea progression that parallel the wiki entry. It’s a very clear lift by a lazy writer who didn’t want to do much research or thinking about the subject and was hastily cobbling something together.

      That editor should be ashamed. And I have a feeling that he/she is, despite the agressive pushing back. After all, it’s a black mark for him/her for lifted stuff to get onto the site.

    • That is effing bullshit. If you Google “morphed into a bizarre narrative of cult practices and the mysterious disappearance of her parents” (from the Newsweek article) what comes is the Wikipedia entry and then tons o f sites that c/p the Wikipedia entry. Ugh. This makes me so angry. Good thing I, nor anyone I know reads Newsweek.

      • Lucky you. I got the auto-generated form letter about what they do with Letters to the Editor.

    • Ok, I am no English major or an editor or even close to a writer, but REALLY??? She may not have plagiarized in the sense of theft of ideas, but there are many other words she could’ve used instead of “morph” or “bizarre.” And the fact that they all appear in the same sentence together, along with mysterious disappearance of parents, suggests more than just coincidence to me.

      I can see the editor having to defend himself and Newsweek, but I am sure that in the future they will probably re-think their relationship with JA. They can’t be that dumb not to see it is clearly not 100% coincidence.

      • Agree. He knows damn well it’s plagiarism, just does not want to have to admit it, as it’s a black mark. I say this as a longtime journalist who has written for publications on the Newsweek level, and who has also done a fair share of editing. This sort of thing certainly would not fly at my current place of employment.

    • Geez. THAT person should have written the articles. S/he’s a way better writer than JA.

      Although I do find it completely ridiculous that 2 or 3 people e-mailing them about the same thing suddenly makes the thing they’re pointing out invalid.

      Oh well. Even if nothing happens, this editor (and maybe Newsweek) won’t work with her anymore. (Although maybe working with Julia was enough to turn them off before anyone from here even contacted them?)

    • What’s funny is this reads very similarly to the type of response you might get if you email Julia with criticism. I emailed her after she posted that picture of the overdressed “Grandma” at the airport to tell her it was rude, and I got a very dismissive response back. When I pointed out it was not the first time she had posted pictures of strangers on her blog (Bolt Bus Bitch, anyone?) she responded with something along the lines of “I am truly sorry if either of the 2 times I have posted pictures of strangers on my blog offended you. No one is forcing you to read it.” Her focus on the fact that she only did something shitty twice, and this guy’s focus on the fact that there is only one “line in question” and therefore it is not a realistic complaint is ridiculous. But Officer, I only robbed a bank once!

      • You’re right, I feel like if I emailed Julia what I emailed Newsweek, I’d have gotten pretty much the same response.

    • Of course it got noticed immediately, because Donkey twitted the link to her thousands of fans (and zillions of detractors).

      • Seriously. She tweeted the link to more than 16,000 people – it’s not out of the realm of possibility that more than one person would notice the similarities.

        “Honored to be part of Newsweek’s End of the Decade Project – my short pieces come out Dec 3! http://2010.newsweek.com/guest-authors.html
        4:13 AM Dec 2nd from web”

    • Wow. Did she blow him, or something?

      Reputable editors take that kind of shit seriously and would seriously punish a writer who slipped something like that by them. I’ve seen that shit happen.

  12. I guess not copying someone else’s work is just an expired meme from the previous decade. Oh well…

  13. I wonder if Romensko would be into this. Says a lot about newsweek.com that they don’t think a single-sentence plagarised is really plagarism. Careers have been destroyed on less.

    • I, too, think this response reflects very badly on Newsweek.com. Frankly, as a journalist, I’m horrified. Who is minding the goddam store these days? Of course, as a print person, I tend to think that online types don’t have quite the standards I’m used to, and this guy’s idea of what does and does not constitute plagiarism kind of confirms that to me.

      • I think you hit the nail on the head: online journalism doesn’t hew to the same standards as print does, or did.

        I am stunned that she not only had the balls to submit this (shoddy writing + plagiarism) and that it got published, but that this dude is defending the Donkey.

      • I agree. I am also a journalist and thought the tone of that editor was pretty dismissive (what is the term this week, snarky?). The whole “plaguarizing letters” detour was ridiculous.

        I have also never written online, just real paper, print mags… and I agree with your general assessment of online writing in general.

    • Oh not princess Juju. This is what, at least the second time she has been caught at this? And the entire publishing industry just shrugs and makes excuses for her. She never gets held responsible for anything.

      Sometimes I feel like the entire effing world is enabling Julia.

    • Plus Romenesko might indeed find it interesting if tipped to the response from the Newsweek editor and the wiki/JA texts for comparison. This is just a very weird interpretation of what is and is not plagiarism, and in my experience it is atypical for the industry.

    • I’m submitting a story to Newsweek. Each line of my story will be independently “pulled” from a wikipedia entry. A collage. It’s only 1 line!

      • Me too. Mine is a new poem I have written for America. It goes “I pledge allegience to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands – one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Only one line! What do you think? It could catch on.

  14. What is great about this, whether Newsweek recognizes it or not, is that it is all happening while Donkey is 6 time zones away!

    • Pretty convenient that she went “off the grid” just when they might need to call her to ask some questions!

  15. i sometimes think that julia’s biggest mistake was taking on Jordan while she’s off the grid in hawaii having her 236832th vacation of the year, Jordan is talking about the letter to Santa program. Julia that’s how it’s done. Real content, informative, interesting and for a good cause.

  16. I write for a website and our articles are routinely plagiarized by “professional” writers on other sites. Just blatantly. It is beyond frustrating, infuriating and demoralizing. I VERY much despise people who would rather steal than put a few minutes of effort into an article or post. And it’s astounding the number of plagiarists who make their livings by “writing.” Count Bunny among them, I guess.


  17. Seriously, would it have been so hard to be like “In the beginning her videos showcased normal teenage emotions, such as angst, but they quickly became something much more bizarre.”

    There. That took 8 seconds. I am not even a writer. I didn’t even go to college. It says that same thing, but different. Live differently.

  18. Let’s not forget that Julia has “friends” at Newsweek, as a quick search of her liecast will reveal. No doubt, that’s how she got the gig in the first place.

  19. I did a quick search for examples of plagerism. this is the first thing that comes up. here are 2 examples Princeton gives. How is this not playgerism again?


    Text example 2
    Original source (text)
    From time to time this submerged or latent theater in Hamlet becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

    Lifting selected passages and phrases without proper acknowledgment (lifted passages are underlined)
    Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theater. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet adopts a pretense of madness that he uses to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from discovering his mission to revenge his father’s murder. He also presents truth by means of a show when he compares the portraits of Gertrude’s two husbands in order to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made. And when he leaps in Ophelia’s open grave ranting in high heroic terms, Hamlet is acting out the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

    Comment for example 2
    This passage, in content and structure, is taken wholesale from the source. Although the writer has rewritten much of the paragraph, and fewer phrases are lifted verbatim from the source, this is a clear example of plagiarism. Inserting even short phrases from the source into a new sentence still requires placing quotations around the borrowed words and citing the author. If even one phrase is good enough to borrow, it must be properly set off by quotation marks. In the case above, if the writer had rewritten the entire paragraph and used only Alvin Kernan’s phrase “high heroic terms” without properly quoting and acknowledging its source, the writer would have plagiarized.

    Text example 3
    Original source (text)
    From time to time this submerged or latent theater in Hamlet becomes almost overt. It is close to the surface in Hamlet’s pretense of madness, the “antic disposition” he puts on to protect himself and prevent his antagonists from plucking out the heart of his mystery. It is even closer to the surface when Hamlet enters his mother’s room and holds up, side by side, the pictures of the two kings, Old Hamlet and Claudius, and proceeds to describe for her the true nature of the choice she has made, presenting truth by means of a show. Similarly, when he leaps into the open grave at Ophelia’s funeral, ranting in high heroic terms, he is acting out for Laertes, and perhaps for himself as well, the folly of excessive, melodramatic expressions of grief.

    Paraphrasing the text while maintaining the basic paragraph and sentence structure
    Almost all of Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be understood as a play about acting and the theater. For example, in Act 1, Hamlet pretends to be insane in order to make sure his enemies do not discover his mission to revenge his father’s murder. The theme is even more obvious when Hamlet compares the pictures of his mother’s two husbands to show her what a bad choice she has made, using their images to reveal the truth. Also, when he jumps into Ophelia’s grave, hurling his challenge to Laertes, Hamlet demonstrates the foolishness of exaggerated expressions of emotion.

    Comment for example 3
    Almost nothing of Kernan’s original language remains in this rewritten paragraph. However, the key idea, the choice and order of the examples, and even the basic structure of the original sentences are all taken from the source. This is another clear example of plagiarism. When paraphrasing, it’s absolutely necessary (1) to use your own words and structure, and (2) to place a citation at the end of the paraphrase to acknowledge that the content is not original.

  20. maybe momser decided to turn in lifted paragraphs to undermine her. just like she did to her in college. she knew this would get julia caught…

  21. A bit of justice was too much to ask for, it seems.

    I have long lamented the general low quality control rampant within web publications. This is depressing.

  22. I sent Newsweek a compliant about Julia and the editor sent me the form letter above.

    I then sent him this:

    “So let me get this straight… A complaint is not valid if it is sent by a group a people? Sorry we care so much about this kind of thing. If you are ok with your writers plagiarizing, then who are we to complain? Carry on then. I guess you are just happy to have a job at a magazine. How is your industry doing? Not too god huh? I wonder why. Oh well. Keep hiring the Julia Allisons’ of the world.”

    The Newsweek editor then sent me this:


    A complaint is certainly not invalid at all if it is sent by a group of people–especially if it’s a disconnected group of people. After all, when people who have no relationship to each other whatsoever notice the same error, there’s a high likelihood it is actually an error. But when a coordinated group of people all “notice” the same single “error,” it suggests to me something more complicated. Indeed, one person on a blog noticed something, posted it, and urged people to respond. And knowing the passion that Ms. Allison inspires on the web, coupled with the highly similar – and narrow – nature of the accusations, I was suspicious at the outset that the accusation //might// be rooted more in a vendetta against the author than in the substance of the charge.

    Regardless, I would never come to any such conclusion without a full investigation, which we immediately conducted and found no evidence to back up the claim of plagiarism.

    Incidentally, and somewhat ironically, our research revealed that the line in question from Wikipedia itself bears resemblance to a line from “Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op,” a book published by Princeton University Press a few years back. Their line reads: “A popular video blog on YouTube called “lonelygirl15,” for example, began as a chronicle of the daily life of a home-schooled teenage girl from a strict religious family. When the daily musings became infused with a bizarre narrative of secret occult practices and the mysterious disappearance of the parents, fans of the blog began to suspect that the whole story was a fabrication.”

    One could argue that this suggests the Wikipedia entry was itself plagiarized. I would argue, however, that this only underscores my point that such “plot summary” lines are by their very nature banal and repetitive. And once again, if there is anything else at all that resembles plagiarism in what Ms. Allison wrote, please do point it out. Thus far, I have seen nothing more than this one sentence. The rest of her essay bears no resemblance to the Wikipedia page, whatsoever, in form, language or content.

    Thanks again for your concern.


    • Newsweek is US Weekly for people who think they’re “informed” about current events. I’d expect nothing more from one of their editors.

    • So maybe Donkey lifted from “Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op”?
      Newsweek is really going to great lengths cover their ass.

    • This is precisely why I discourage calls to action. The first thing that happens is they tell Julia, and Julia shows them RBNS and claims we are a bunch of psychos out to destroy her life, and they dismiss any criticism the moment they find a comment that says OMG EMAIL NEWSWEEK!!~~~~

      Not blaming anyone, I’m just saying this is why I personally never contact or provide feedback to her editors or sponsors or whatever. I just post it here and let the information disseminate on its own.

      • Sorry! 🙁 I posted the contact info and I wasn’t trying to start a mob or make a call to action. There was nothing to really win or lose – they investigated the claim and that’s enough for me. Did they have to be so bitchy and dismissive about it? Maybe not, but oh well. It’s not like Julia had some sparkling, unsullied online reputation before this, and (I hope?) they knew that before they hired her to write the pieces in the first place.

    • It’s a direct lift encapsulated in an indirect lift, which equals plagiarism. I know it. Editor “dg” knows it, even if editor dg is not about to admit it in public. Julia Allison surely knows it. The whole things makes me feel slightly nauseous about my chosen profession, which seems to be circling the drain more rapidly every day.

      • I agree. I think it’s fine to snark but I feel like it crosses the line with emailing Julia directly, people she works with/for, or emailing sponsors. I despise her as much as all of you, but I couldn’t go there.

  23. JA has posted her full write up. i’m too lazy to read it write now, as i’ve been writing code all evening, but i suggest someone takes a close look at both it and the wiki article…

      • Is she completely unable to stick to word counts? That’s like the first thing you learn in Journalism 101 – write to a word count.

        Nice to know she’s still “on the grid.” Wonder if any Newsweek editors have tried to contact her while she’s lounging on the beach?

      • Of course they contacted her to inform her of the allegations. And of course she pointed them to RBNS, and told Newsweek how we are obsessed fat stalkers trying to destroy her or whatever version of the ‘poor me, it’s not me I did nothing wrong, it’s these crazy losers’ story she’s doing this week. Thus the dismissive, people on the internet hate Julia and have a vendetta party line of the email responses.

    • What an idiot. Who the hell wants to read the “(slightly longer) version” of an edited, published piece. Is she some kind of extra-special journalist? Is this the the Director’s Cut? So goddamn unprofessional that creature. How fuck.

      • She does this kind of crap all the time. Such a classless sow. She really thinks she knows better than the editor who does this shit for a living.

      • Writers as lousy as Julia Allison should no more display their unedited work online than they would their cellulite. An incomplete rundown of the errors in her submitted work:

        – Excessive use of ellipses (usually indicative of a poor comprehension of the rules of punctuation)

        – Missing sequential comma in “clear-skinned home-schooled daughter”

        – “super religious parents” should be “super-religious,” following the adjective-adjective rule of hyphenation

        – Ditto “IKEA-outfitted”

        – First sentence is a run-on and needs to be recast

        – Sudden shift from past tense to present (“Bree’s first video… had all the sophistication,” to “she pulls her legs in close to her chest.”)

        – Use of collective first-person pronoun not in line with Newsweek stylesheet

        – Starting para with “Oh yeah.” Even if this weren’t overly familiar for a newsweekly, there should be a hyphen following “Oh.” Of course, she ended her first para with “oops!” This is not your blog, Julia. This is motherfucking Newsweek

        New York Times should be in itals

        – “eye-roll inducing” again is missing a hyphen (she gets this right on “late-aughts” and “semi-precocious,” which just aggravates me more. She knows the rule exists, sort of, but not how to apply it)

        – “…it came out that LonelyGirl had a web cam Svengali: the 2007 budgetless (talentless?) John Hughes.” This states that John Hughes, who was apparently possessed of no money and no talent, was the mastermind behind Lonelygirl15. This could not be more wrong

        – “NY Times” should be abbreviated NYT, since “Times” was written out earlier in the piece. New York Magazine needs to be written out and italed. She didn’t even cap “Magazine!” Holy shit, I would die of shame.

        – “An art form with more views than the last two superbowls combined.” Where to start? Sentence fragment. Super Bowl should be capped and rendered as two separate words. Finally, she’s comparing apples to oranges: Lonelygirl15’s cumulative viewcount with the viewership of a single televised event.

        – “The irony, of course, is that hits-based-upon-trickery are inherently un-replicable…” OH THAT’S WHERE ALL THE MISSING HYPHENS WENT: WHERE NO SANE PERSON WOULD PUT THEM. How fuck!

        – “Fool me twice? Well, uh … you can’t!” I never thought I would see a variant on this phrase dumber than GWB’s “Fool me twice, won’t get fooled again.” I was wrong. She also switches from the collective first person (we) to the singular (me).

        – “In the end…” No journalist with more than a week’s experience should preface a concluding paragraph with this phrase.

        – Finally, she spells Andy Samberg’s name wrong. Was Google broken?

        There, I spent 400% more time on this article than Julia Allison did. You’re welcome, Newsweek. By the way, I am an out-of-work writer who doesn’t charge four bucks a word. I will literally accept payment in Trader Joe’s gift cards.

  24. I know someone already mentioned this on another thread and that this is sort of OT, buuuuuuut:

    On the previous episode of Glee, I noticed Rachel wears both poofy skirts and sausage curls AND brays AND insists on only being photographed from her left side. I’ve never really loved the show, but this realization has now ruined any chance I had of becoming a real fan.

    • I felt that JA was Rachel Berry from the first episode. Lines like “Fame is all that matter is the world, and nobody is going to give it to you, you have to take it”, plus last night’s revelation that she ONLY agrees to be photographed from one side was enough for me.

      That said, I think Glee is still proof God exists.

      • I guess the difference is that Rachel is actually talented. Maybe if Julia could sing like Lea Michele, I’d be more forgiving towards her whole schtick.


    “And below, if you want to read the (slightly longer) version I turned into Newsweek:”


    “Oh silly editors! They don’t know the genius of my brains! I will reprint all my words in one place for my adoring fans!”

    An attempt to refute the accusations of STEALING THINGS FROM WIKI!?!

    NEWSWEEK End of the Decade Project “Top 10 Internet Memes” #1: LonelyGirl15

    And below, if you want to read the (slightly longer) version I turned into Newsweek:

    December 3, 2009
    By Julia Allison

    LonelyGirl15: the post-modern Hughesian icon for the Face-space generation.


    Sixteen years old, with widely spaced brown eyes – and those crazy eyebrows! – Bree’s first video as “LonelyGirl15” on her eponymous YouTube channel had all the sophistication of a pink fuzzy diary (with over 100 million people leafing through the pages) and all the plot … well, it didn’t really have much of a plot at all. Ostensibly the clear-skinned home-schooled daughter of super religious parents, somewhere in a generic IKEA outfitted room in the heartland, she pulls her legs in close to her chest, has difficulty maintaining eye contact while glancing around nervously, and awkwardly stumbles over her lines … oops, wait – did we say lines?

    Oh yeah, Bree isn’t really Bree, of course, but an unknown Kiwi actress named Jessica Rose, now 22, playing what the New York Times dubbed “an unbeatable fantasy: a beautiful girl who techy guys had something in common with.” Bree certainly captured the eye-roll inducing late-aughts zeitgeist of semi-precocious teens spending their free time angsting into web cams and editing it on iMovie. That made it all the more shocking for the millions of fans who finally realized they had been duped when it came out that LonelyGirl had a web cam Svengali: the 2007 budgetless (talentless?) John Hughes.

    The story lines were unabashedly basic, but media outlets obsessed over the hoax, with the NY Times calling it “one of the Internet’s more elaborately constructed mysteries.” User generated content that wasn’t so user generated? It was, as NY magazine concluded, “the birth of a new art form.” An art form with more views than the last two superbowls combined.

    That the popular success didn’t necessarily translate into direct monetary success was neither here nor there: LonelyGirl15 was more proof of concept – a concept that some argued represented the future.

    “Maybe this, and not some NBC shows for sale on iTunes, is the future of television—or the promised land of a new narrative form,” NY magazine wrote presciently in 2006, far before the LonelyGirl creators released the sub-three minute “In the Bedroom,” their highest viewed episode, clocking in at almost 25 million views as of October 2009. The irony, of course, is that hits-based-upon-trickery are inherently un-replicable: fool me once, say the easily-jaded internet viewing masses, and we’ll find it creative and maybe a bit charming. Fool me twice? Well, uh … you can’t!

    In the end, LonelyGirl’s rank in the annals of pop culture certainly won’t be for masterful story-telling (You got kissed? Whatever. Get murdered and now we have a show NBC might air). But with the Blair Witch-esque blurring of the lines of is-she-or-isn’t-she real – the hallmark of the muddled “reality-based” entertainment in this decade – it did, at the very least, capture our attention. And as the first episodic internet series to go mainstream, LonelyGirl showcased the web’s ability to create and sustain a viewership for content beyond cat videos and Andy Samburg.

    For that alone, Bree deserves a prize.


    NEWSWEEK End of the Decade Project “Top 10 Internet Memes” #2: Obama Girl

    And below, if you want to read the (slightly longer) version I turned into Newsweek:

    December 3, 2009
    By Julia Allison

    “You seem to float onto the floor
    Democratic Convention 2004
    I never wanted anybody more …
    cause I got a crush on Obama!”

    June of 2007: the Democratic presidential nominee hadn’t yet been decided, even by the most precocious of pundits. It was a slow news day (month, really) when a not-quite-professional YouTube music video featuring a sexy young girl singing about her love for a certain politician broke out. Before the end of the week, over five million people had seen “Obama Girl” gyrate in a bikini next to a superimposed shot of “relatively unknown” democratic contender Barack Obama, bare-chested in the waves.

    No campaign video then – or since – has made it so clear: Hillary Clinton or John Kerry, he wasn’t.

    “So I put down my Kerry sign / So black and sexy, you’re so fine.”

    Presidential candidate as sex symbol? This was a new era, indeed.

    This was no Swift boat, no cranky senior citizens complaining about health care. Instead we had model/actress Amber Lee Ettinger, then 25, with long flowing black hair and curves that could make gay Republicans straight – plus an undeniably catchy tune, some arguably amusing lyrics (“You’re into border security/Let’s break this border between you and me/You can love but you can fight/You can Barack me tonight”), and, oh yeah, a bright red pair of booty … uh … “shorts” – with OBAMA in white letters on the butt.
    Such iconic sexual-political imagery is the stuff of pop culture legend.

    “It’s safe to say the original video was more memorable than any of Barack Obama’s own TV ads,” says former ad-exec Ben Relles, who co-created Obama Girl with vocalist Leah Kaufmann, shooting it in a single weekend.

    That it looked slightly homemade – no slick videography, with a budget of just $2k, only fanned the flames of grassroots views & media love. More important, the message perfectly articulated – in a cheeky (figuratively & literally) manner – the cult-like almost adolescent adulation Obama fanaticism that had been building in pop culture. “It was a metaphor for how young people were head over heels for him for the wrong reasons,” says co-creator Ben Relles.

    Well … maybe not the “wrong” reasons, per se, but certainly reasons not frequently ascribed to politicians, like, for example, uh … “hotness.”

    But it wasn’t just sex appeal that made Obama Girl (now viewed almost 50 million times worldwide) the defining viral video of the 2008 election. For the first time it became possible for an individual to create and disseminate a video to an enormous audience. “A video created in a weekend for a few hundred dollars could impact a national election,” explains Relles, “That represents a real shift in the way people can participate in politics.”

    And so Obama Girl stands – clad in a tight white tee with Obama’s face – at the intersection of sex, politics and the internet, harkening a new era where elections are young and sexy and fun and underwear doesn’t just sport boring lettering like “Juicy Couture” but instead politicians’ monikers.

    “Obama Girl’s in textbooks, in museums, referenced on SNL and in Michael Moore’s book,” marvels Relles. Oh, and one more thing … “Obama’s seen it. He emailed me.”

  26. (i suck at life. you guys were already talking about this…just wanted to post to be service-y. sorry for being late to the party on this one! bye!)

    • Well that would certainly prove that Newsweek’s online standards are as shabby as I am starting to believe they are. And it might also account for the aggressive pushback on the part of “editor dg.” If THEY think it’s fine to crib from wiki a line/thought series that has in turn been cribbed from another source…well, business as usual, move along, nothing to see here.

      I was astonished that a person who has been caught up in a plagiarism flap like the one that marked Julia Allison’s career at the Hoya would dare to crib again. It did seem almost too self sabotaging to be believed. But if I have learned anything in my years of JA watching, it’s that she is capable of plenty I could never have imagined.

      This, though, is very murky. My first reaction–that it is so, so embarrassing for Newsweek–may be even truer than I thought.


      • Either Julia is completely innocent and Newsweek fucked up or Julia fucked up and Newsweek — to cover its own behind — is pretending like nothing is wrong. I guess we’ll never find out what really happened.

        I’m just saying though, if I was Julia Allison and some editor made questionable changes to my story, I would want people to know explicitly, and not just by placing an “unedited” piece (because how do you prove that anyway?)

  27. do those jeans have elastic?
    Newsweek is such a piece of crap. This just proves that Newsweek is un-readable and not worth the paper it’s printed on. But I am curious to know if this shows-up on the paper version???? anyone know?

    • 190 is kind of a stretch; if you’d observed at all you’d have noticed some comment multiple times within a given thread. Aside from that, is that supposed to be some sort of accomplishment? What a world. I kind of find your comment humorous in light of the nature and content of your blog. She also managed to get a nearly 400-comment thread comprised of individuals who encountered her in reality and had much (99% negative) to say based on their exposure to her. Let’s pat her on the back, have her take a bow, and praise her for doing something noteworthy and worthwhile for society.

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