Blog network b5media handled the alleged misuse of a blogger’s design code yesterday with speed and sincerity.
The situation boiled over when Copyblogger author Brian Clark posted about what he called the theft of his blog’s design. The clean, striking Chris Pearson design is definitely worth taking inspiration and ideas from, a form of flattery designers often bestow on each other.
But a designer and editor with b5media apparently went beyond just borrowing some ideas, and used a substantial portion of the original design on some projects he was working on.
took advantage of access to the blog’s code on the b5 servers.
On behalf of b5, CEO Jeremy Wright was quick to apologize, cut ties with the designer, and offer a public explanation. Straight out of a crisis communications textbook – act quickly and decisively, stick with the known facts, explain the company’s response, and express sincere regret for any damage caused.
When I first joined b5media, I offered the founders communications advice, if they ever needed it. But Jeremy seemed to do fine yesterday without my help. Well done.
And unlike some of the public whippings (followed by summary executions) that take place in most news organizations that discover plagiarism by an employee, Jeremy offered empathy and best wishes for the departing designer.
Note: I’m on contract with b5media to author this blog. I have almost no insider information about this issue. And I’m not inclined to suck up to Jeremy just because he cuts the cheques each month. (I suck up to him because I like his style.)