Saturday, July 30, 2011

UPDATE: Gazette editor responds to 'borrowing' from tourism release in travel story

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 5:34 AM

Jeep tours are the best way to explore the area around Marble
  • Crystal River Jeep Tours
  • We've heard (twice) that Jeep tours are a great way to explore the area around Marble.


Gazette editor Jeff Thomas did send an email response at noon Friday to our request for comment about the post below, regarding considerable material being lifted verbatim from a news release distributed to a large media mailing list and published under a writer's byline. But the message for some reason was routed into junk mail and not discovered until early this morning.

Here is Thomas' response in its entirety:

Ralph,

Inasmuch as the press release is just that — a release for the press to use — I’m not troubled by our use of it. But if we’re to reprint it with only minimal modification, as was the case here, we should credit the source and not put a Gazette byline on it. That’s what we will do going forward if we are to use releases to this extent.

Sorry for the delay responding. Been a busy week. —jt

—————-ORIGINAL POST, 3:01 p.m. FRIDAY, JULY 29———————-

If you happened to read the Gazette’s travel coverage last Sunday (July 24), you probably saw a story headlined, "Our Pick: Majestic Marble," about the tiny but picturesque Western Slope settlement. Marble, as the story explains, is a point of entry for some remarkably scenic back-country roads and trails.

There was just one problem with the story, under the byline of Gazette staff member Joy Harper. "Their Pick" was a nice cut-and-paste job.

Less than a week earlier, a news release had gone out to a media mailing list (including the Independent) from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association, which promotes destinations throughout that area. This release, dated July 19, was focused on … Marble.

I had seen that release, reminding me of a visit to Marble two summers ago. And the Gazette story seemed a little too familiar. A quick side-by-side comparison of the release and the Gazette piece uncovered words, phrases and entire paragraphs lifted verbatim from the release, without any credit or attribution.

Some examples:

Gazette story, first four paragraphs:

For historical charm and Colorado Rockies splendor, don’t overlook majestic Marble, with its quiet, uncrowded setting among aspen groves, evergreen forests, 14,000-foot peaks, clear streams and comfortable, hospitable lodging. The town’s fame and unique character also have been linked to the largest vein of pure, white marble in the world, discovered in 1882 by surveyors looking for gold.

By 1900, Italian miners were producing marble blocks that were used for the Colorado Capitol’s interior, Denver Mint, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and numerous well-known structures across the U.S. The town’s population burgeoned to 1,500 in 1915, but the impact of both world wars and the removal of the train tracks that shuttled the marble blocks took their toll.

Today, Marble is mostly a residential enclave of about 125 residents at the base of the historical marble quarry, once again in operation by Italian owners. An additional 200 live in the area surrounding the old town boundaries. Chunks, blocks and columns of marble peek out of every block of the Marble landscape, and there are National Historic Register sites on every corner, including Mill Site Park, Marble City State Bank, Marble High School, Marble Community Church, Haxby House, Marble Town Hall and the William Parry House.

In the northwest corner of Gunnison County, Marble is on the headwaters of the Crystal River in the Elk Mountain Range and just off Colorado Highway 133 and the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. The closest communities are Redstone, eight miles away, and Carbondale, 30 miles down the Crystal River. Crested Butte is about 45 miles to the south when taking Kebler Pass, open generally from the end of May through October.

News release, first four paragraphs:

GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (July 19, 2011) — Visitors can experience Colorado splendor like it used to be in Marble, with a quiet, uncrowded setting amongst aspen groves, evergreen forests, 14,000-foot peaks, clear streams and comfortable, hospitable lodging. The town’s notoriety and unique character also has been linked to the largest vein of pure, white marble in the world that was discovered in 1882 by surveyors looking for gold.

By 1900, Italian miners were producing marble blocks that were used for the Colorado Capitol’s interior, Denver Mint, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and numerous well-known structures across the United States. The town’s population burgeoned to 1,500 in 1915, but the impact of both World Wars and removal of the train tracks that shuttled the marble blocks took their toll.

Today, Marble is mostly a residential enclave of about 125 residents at the base of the historic marble quarry, once again in operation by Italian owners. Another 200 live in the area surrounding the old town boundaries. Chunks, blocks and columns of marble peek out of every block of the Marble landscape, and there are National Historic Register sites on every corner: Mill Site Park, Marble City State Bank, Marble High School, Marble Community Church, Haxby House, Marble Town Hall and William Parry House.

Located in the northwest corner of Gunnison County, Marble is situated on the headwaters of the Crystal River in the Elk Mountain Range and just off Colorado Highway 133 and the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. The closest communities are Redstone, just 8 miles away, and Carbondale, 30 miles down the Crystal River. Crested Butte is approximately 45 miles to the south when taking Kebler Pass, open generally from the end of May through October.

Also, from the Gazette:

Many of Marble’s hiking trails feature plenty of vertical, but a walk around the “flats” of town yield ice cream, a community center/coffee bar, a barbecue restaurant, an art and sculpture gallery, and a historic schoolhouse and museum.

And from the release:

Many of Marble’s hiking trails feature plenty of vertical terrain, but a walk around the “flats” of town yields ice cream, a community center/coffee bar, a barbecue restaurant, an art and sculpture gallery, and a historical schoolhouse and museum.

Finally, from the Gazette:

Marble winters are peaceful and piled high in snow, perfect for backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling and sledding.

Then the release:

Marble winters are peaceful and piled high in snow, perfect for backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and sledding.

After seeing all this, I sent the two pieces of work to Gazette editor Jeff Thomas on Monday, asking him for comment. A auto-reply return said he’d return Tuesday. Thomas never responded, and he's not replied to any followup email and voice-mail messages (though he did find time to tweet about a rainbow last night).

If we hear from Thomas with an official reaction, we’ll pass it along. Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from the definition of plagiarism in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

— to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own

— to use (another's production) without crediting the source.

Here's a link to the Gazette's story. And below the jump, you can read the press release in full.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Beth Buehler
Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association
(970) 349-1168 or bethbuehler@qwestoffice.net
www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com

Majestic Marble Offers Historical Charm & Original Colorado Rockies Splendor
This northwest Gunnison County burg helped build famous monuments & buildings

GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (July 19, 2011) — Visitors can experience Colorado splendor like it used to be in Marble, with a quiet, uncrowded setting amongst aspen groves, evergreen forests, 14,000-foot peaks, clear streams and comfortable, hospitable lodging. The town’s notoriety and unique character also has been linked to the largest vein of pure, white marble in the world that was discovered in 1882 by surveyors looking for gold.

By 1900, Italian miners were producing marble blocks that were used for the Colorado Capitol’s interior, Denver Mint, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and numerous well-known structures across the United States. The town’s population burgeoned to 1,500 in 1915, but the impact of both World Wars and removal of the train tracks that shuttled the marble blocks took their toll.

Today, Marble is mostly a residential enclave of about 125 residents at the base of the historic marble quarry, once again in operation by Italian owners. Another 200 live in the area surrounding the old town boundaries. Chunks, blocks and columns of marble peek out of every block of the Marble landscape, and there are National Historic Register sites on every corner: Mill Site Park, Marble City State Bank, Marble High School, Marble Community Church, Haxby House, Marble Town Hall and William Parry House.

Located in the northwest corner of Gunnison County, Marble is situated on the headwaters of the Crystal River in the Elk Mountain Range and just off Colorado Highway 133 and the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. The closest communities are Redstone, just 8 miles away, and Carbondale, 30 miles down the Crystal River. Crested Butte is approximately 45 miles to the south when taking Kebler Pass, open generally from the end of May through October.

Ways to Enjoy Marble Year-Round
Many of Marble’s hiking trails feature plenty of vertical, but a walk around the “flats” of town yield ice cream, a community center/coffee bar, a barbecue restaurant, an art and sculpture gallery, and a historic schoolhouse and museum. Pick up provisions at the Marble General Store and stop by Abstract Marble and Gift Shop, which sells stone for sculptors and landscapes, cutting boards, memorial headstones, benches, gifts and specialty products.

Look for plenty of fly-fishing holes on the Crystal River, brown and rainbow trout in Beaver Lake, and some of the toughest kayaking in the U.S. on the Crystal River, ranging from Class II to V+.

Heard of Maroon Bells located in the Snowmass and Raggeds Wilderness areas? From Marble, you get a private audience with the “Back of the Bells” instead of dealing with the crowds seeking a glimpse from the Aspen side. Be sure to stop at Lizard Lake to see the astounding red salamanders as well as at the legendary Crystal Mill, one of the most photographed spots in Colorado.

Crystal River Jeep Tours, established in 1951 and the oldest adventure tour business in Colorado, can take you to Crystal Mill, Crystal City, Lead King Basin Loop and Devils Punchbowl from May through November. OutWest Guides specializes in mule deer and elk hunting, guided fly-fishing trips and horseback rides, and overnight pack trips. ATV and snowmobile rentals to explore miles of majestic roads that wind throughout the White River National Forest are available through RPS Rentals.

Marble winters are peaceful and piled high in snow, perfect for backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and sledding.

When planning a visit, chose from cabins, vacation rentals, an inn, a lodge and a campground with RV hookups for lodging options.

Key Events
The 23rd annual MARBLE/marble Symposium has three sessions planned: July 2 — 9, July 15 — 22 and July 29 — Aug. 5. Approximately 35 participants will be creating marble sculptures of their own design during each session; some stay for all three sessions as this unique outdoor setting serves as inspiration when returning to their studios worldwide. Artists from as far as Japan, India, Switzerland and England work with tools that either they bring from home or are provided by the symposium. Participants are guided through the process with daily workshops and ongoing personal instruction, and beginners to advanced are welcome. For information, visit www.marbleinst.org or call (303) 297-1429 or (970) 963-5726 (June - August).

Marble Fest is an arts and music festival that takes place Aug. 5 — 7. Food and craft vendors complement a lineup of bands that ranges from blues to bluegrass and jam bands to jazz. There’s also acoustic music throughout the weekend on the porch of the town’s one restaurant, Woody’s Rollin Smoke Bar-B-Que. On Aug. 5, the music runs from 5 — 10 p.m., with Joint Point and Fatty Jenkins featured in the lineup. Join in the fun on Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight with Stonefed and Williams Brothers Band among the entertainment on the main stage. Sunday features Honey Don’t, Pete Kartsounes Band and several other groups performing from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. Visit www.marblefest.org for the full lineup of more than 30 bands and all the details. Admission is free but donations are requested.

Experience two great running courses surrounded by fall foliage splendor at the Lead King Loop & Quarry Climb on Sept. 18. The 25k Lead King Loop course starts in Marble, rounding Beaver Lake, climbing 2,900 vertical feet in about 4 miles into the backcountry Lead King Basin, and switch backing down past waterfalls to Crystal.

The race passes the famous 110-year-old Crystal Mill and climbs out of the river valley before a fast downhill finish at Beaver Lake Lodge. The 12.5k Quarry Climb course starts at Beaver Lake Lodge, winds through Marble until crossing the Crystal River and climbs approximately 1,200 feet in 3 miles through an aspen grove to the base of the marble quarry. Return downhill to the finish with amazing vistas of the valley and Yule Creek.

There’s also the Lake Kids Loop, a scenic and relatively flat 1.25 mile run around Beaver Lake for kids and their parents. The races benefit Marble Charter School. For more information, visit www.leadkingloop25k.com or call (970) 704-1275. Register online at www.active.com.

Visitor Information & Personalized Vacation Packages
To find out more about Gunnison-Crested Butte’s calendar of events and personalized vacation packages, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free number (800) 814-8893 or visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com/packages. Find the Tourism Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow us on www.twitter.com/gcbta.

The Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is served year-round by United Airlines and during the winter by American Airlines.

About Gunnison County, Colorado
Gunnison-Crested Butte is nestled among almost two million acres of pristine wilderness in southwest Colorado. Winter sports enthusiasts know the area for its world-class alpine skiing and snowboarding at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing. Gunnison-Crested Butte is also a haven for outdoor summer activities. In the warmer months, visitors can choose from recreational activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking, boating, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping and horseback riding. Year-round visitors enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops and stimulating cultural opportunities, and have a wide range of lodging options — from rustic inns to guest cabins and bed-and-breakfasts to full-service resort hotels.

Gunnison, county seat and a real western town, is home to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport, Gunnison Whitewater Park, Gunnison Valley Observatory, Pioneer Museum and Western State College, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional fields. Both Crested Butte and Gunnison have thriving historic central business districts packed with shopping and dining opportunities.

Recognized as the “Official Wildflower Capital of Colorado” by the Colorado Legislature and one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” in 2008, Crested Butte is 28 miles from Gunnison and the site of rich mining, ranching and skiing heritage and home to the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Only three miles up the road is the resort village of Mt. Crested Butte, home to the ski area, an active base area, the area’s conference center, and outstanding hiking and biking trails.

Marble is located in the Upper Crystal River Valley along the Elk Mountains and is the gateway to nearby Crystal, home to one of the most photographed mill sites in the country. Marble has seven sites on the National Register of Historic Places and is the location of the Yule Marble Quarry.

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