Ziff-Davis senior editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is a publicist's dream. As documented a dozen times here and here and just now here by Fake Steve Jobs blogger (and sharp-minded Forbes editor) Dan Lyons, Vaughan-Nichols copies large swatches of press releases from Novell and other tech vendors into his articles on eWeek's Linux-Watch site. You might think this amounts to blatant plagiarism and copyright infringement, but you'd be wrong.
This is Novell's prayers answered — a "reporter" who writes exactly what they tell him to. Vaughan-Nichols is a lazy genius: He's figured out a way to earn his salary by cutting and pasting content no one's going to complain about. In fact, he's probably the least headache for his own editor, since none of the companies he writes about ever call to complain that he got it wrong. Here's an idea for publicists: Stick a giant Creative Commons license atop all your press releases. See how many grateful bloggers take the hint and finally, finally run your talking points unsoiled by any of their error-prone original reporting.