Stolen inspiration: SZ discontinues column

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Inspirated, copied or simply stolen? The popular science magazine “Katapult” had argued about this with an editor of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Editors and readers of the “Katapult” magazine had noticed several times that the contents of the “Dry Numbers” section, in which social or geographical phenomena are sharply compared, were copied from a similar section of the “Knowledge” section of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In an article published on Monday about this process, the catapult editor-in-chief and publisher Benjamin Fredrich begins conciliatory: “I think, yes, well, it can happen. Is coincidence or copied – everybody steals an idea here and there. ”But little by little, the editorial staff became aware of several such copies of their graphically processed numbers and rated them as“ systematic ”.

The responsible SZ editor Christian Weber, according to a message from Fredrich, admitted in emails to, for his graphic column “Bottom line” that he had been “inspired” a few times by the catapult magazine, but had not copied it. Weber also did not apologize. Fredrich sharply criticized the SZ editor’s reaction in his article. Weber had finally initially offered the catapult to name the magazine as a source in the future. Fredrich emphasizes, however, that the catapult is not the source of the numbers, the work lies in the preparation and creative representation of these: Weber cannot distinguish a source from an idea, writes Fredrich. He also rejected a cooperation offer for reconciliation on the part of Webers.

Less than an hour after the catapult editor-in-chief published the case on Twitter and Facebook, Patrick Illinger, head of the SZ knowledge department, replied with a statement. In it he regrets the actions of the responsible editor and draws conclusions: “In a total of around half a dozen cases, the colleague has taken over a number comparison from the Katapult magazine,” it says and further: “The SZ column is therefore effective immediately ‘Bottom line’ discontinued and will soon be replaced by another format, ”says Illinger. In the Facebook comment columns it is clear that the latter step was not the goal of the catapult magazine, but the editorial team was satisfied with the SZ statement: “For the catapult editorial team, this is the end of the story,” the magazine says ,

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