“Fuck your knees hard, Mr. Weber!” – gossip about theft of ideas between “catapult” and “SZ”


You don’t have ideas that bring a breath of fresh air every day. And when nothing comes to mind, you just look at what your colleagues are doing. This seems to have happened in the case of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, which accuses the magazine “Katapult” of bold theft of ideas.

Statistics are often dry and difficult to digest because they consist of many numbers. Nevertheless, they are needed to illustrate content and to substantiate claims. How to integrate them and how well they are received by the reader – not only the correct reproduction of the bare numbers decides, but often also the way in which they are presented. If you describe a larger area than “the size of four soccer fields”, the reader can imagine something below it.

The magazine “Catapult” has perfected the art of creative illustration in his “Dry Numbers” section by juxtaposing numbers in his comparisons that were not necessarily necessary for a comparison.

The fresh ideas for statistical utilization also seem editors of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” to be noticed and to have fallen. So good that they took it over one to one several times and only changed it graphically. For example, on January 8, 2020, “Catapult” compared the number of camels to be killed in Australia with the number of deer that were killed in Germany in the 2017/2018 hunting year. The same comparison appeared in the “SZ” section “Bottom Line” on February 1, 2020. When the “Catapult” editors became aware of it and took a closer look, they found six more “recycled” “Catapult” statistics “SZ”, for the past few months alone.

The brazen steal of ideas has also caught the eye of “SZ” readers, as you can see from the corresponding comments in the comment columns.

“Catapult” founder and editor-in-chief Benjamin Fredrich decided to clarify the matter and wrote the responsible “SZ” editor Christian Weber. In his answer, the latter admitted that some ideas had actually come from “catapult” in the past few weeks, and some figures had been “inspired” by the magazine. “Inspired?” Asked Fredrich in his article on the facts. “They were copied in perfect condition”, he clarifies. The solution proposed by Weber to indicate “catapult” as the source in the future makes Fredrich doubt the journalistic understanding of the “SZ” editor. In the case of statistics, “catapult” is not a source. The magazine’s own contribution is to have a good idea and to implement it by assembling it from different sources.

“I also write to him that a one-to-one takeover of content is criticized even by his own SZ readers and the planned exploitation of the content of a competitor falls under unfair competition and is therefore also legally vulnerable,” said Fredrich.

In his reply email, Weber suddenly goes on the offensive and assumes that “catapult” would also steal content from “SZ” and other media. On this accusation, Fredrich checks the history of the relevant sections. He notes that the oldest contribution of “Unterm Strich” the “SZ” comes from June 2018, the oldest of the related category “Apples and Pears” from January of the same year. “Dry numbers” from “Katapult”, however, has been around since March 2015.

“Either Mr. Weber proves that the bottom line is older than five years, then it only remains that he started a Donald Trump diversionary maneuver with his counter-attack, or he cannot prove it. Then I no longer know exactly where his remaining credibility dangles, ”comments the“ catapult ”founder mockingly.

The crowning glory for him, however, was the “SZ” editor’s offer to “make an exciting double-page infographic” for the “SZ”. He wanted to fix a serious journalistic problem and was given a “slimy slime hand” instead.

At the end of his article Benjamin Fredrich becomes very clear once again and turns to Weber in the following words:

“Fuck your knee hard, Mr. Weber! I publish your full embarrassment, your journalistic misunderstanding about not being able to distinguish a source from an idea, and your systematic takeover of our works. And no, we don’t make a graphic page for you in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “


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