I recently had to leave my position as a Mustang Daily movie columnist due to recent mistakes that were made, and I will in no way try to convey the fact that they were not my own mistakes, because they were. This student-run newspaper has provided me with something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do at a school like Cal Poly: work with movies. Movies are my true passion, and although I am not, at the moment, making them, viewing them or writing about them on a weekly basis, this job has provided true joy for me, especially when my articles spark conversations on campus with people I have never met.
The Mustang Daily informed me about some claims that were being made about my articles, and I wanted to take this opportunity to address those claims. It has been said that all of my articles are not original pieces, and that I plagiarized the works of the best movie critic around, Roger Ebert. It may make more sense if I explained the process I go through and the methods I utilize prior to even viewing a film. For years even before my days as a college student, I have compared my own thoughts to those of Ebert, along with other experts like Peter Travers and David Edelstein. Before even deciding to watch a certain movie, I read dozens of reviews online, and it’s no surprise that the man I most consistently follow is Ebert. It has been said that certain ideas that I have conveyed in my articles are way too similar to statements Ebert has made, and I completely agree and apologize for that. I assure you this was in no way intentional, and while my statements were made in different ways, it in no way surprises me to learn that people were angry at what they were reading — especially those who enjoy reading the columns of popular movie critics. While not all of my articles have certain sentences that resemble those of Ebert, too many of them share similar thoughts, almost always in the introductions.
Roger Ebert is truly an idol of mine, and one of my dreams in life would be to follow in his footsteps and one day have a column in a major newspaper, along with bringing back the weekly movie review television shows that Ebert originated with his partner Gene Siskel. He is truly one of the last people in the world that I would wish to offend. While I stand by the fact that my articles are my own, it is clear that too many of my ideas were excessively influenced by Mr. Ebert. I should have been smarter about comparing my articles with those that I read prior to viewing films, and should have never sent any in to the Mustang Daily until I was sure there would be no confusion. I again, truly apologize for that. To those individuals who took the time to realize and address this problem, I commend you. I am in no way angry or bitter towards you because all you were doing was attempting to ensure the integrity of this publication, which in turn reflects our university.
The Mustang Daily is an extremely impressive project that provides students with entertaining columns every day, it is a privilege I think we take for granted some times. While I would love nothing more than to continue writing for the paper, this mistake could not have gone without any consequences, and I understand that. I would like to thank the Mustang Daily for giving me the opportunity to call myself a true “writer” for around a year and half. It was a job that really did provide me with a lot pride and self-confidence.