Wetherspoon news magazine found to be ripping off full columns from other newspapers

Wetherspoon’s news magazine found to be ripping off full columns from other newspapers

Front page of the winter edition of Wetherspoon News. Image: Wetherspoon News

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Wetherspoon’s in-house magazine Wetherspoon News has been found to be printing entire columns from other news organisations.

The winter edition of the magazine includes six columns taken in full from national newspapers and magazines, including from The Times, The Spectator and Financial Times.

The columns are accompanied by a segment called ‘Tim says’, where Wetherspoon CEO Tim Martin provides commentary on the pieces.

Alongside a November column from The Times’ Carolyn Fairbairn about how much a bad deal would cost Britain in business, Mr Martin wrote: “The equal worst financial judgement in the last 40 years emanates from the CBI.

“The latest director-general is Carolyn Fairbairn, who has an awful record in making predictions about things concerning Brexit.

“Here she is, one year ago, predicting Armageddon because of ‘the spectre of no deal’. Wrong again, Carolyn.

“In the last three months, as reported in November 2018, the UK economy has grown at three times the rate of the doomed eurozone.”


'Different opinions' 

One of the columns written for The Spectator, along with the 'Tim Says' commentary from Wetherspoon bos Tim Martin. Image: Wetherspoon News. 

Writing in the edition, Editor Eddie Gershon said they had included the articles to give “different opinions”.

“Having worked with Tim for 28 years, I feel sure that he tells the truth and would never knowingly misrepresent the facts to win an argument,” he said.

“However, not everyone shares his opinions. For different opinions, Wetherspoon News quotes in full articles by Carolyn Fairbairn of the CBI (page 81), Philip Stephens and Martin Wolf (pages 83 and 85) of the Financial Times - organisations of which Tim has been deeply critical.”


'Copyright infringement' 

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin alongside Nigel Farage at a Leave Means Leave rally in London, on January 17. 

The Financial Times has described the incident as copyright infringement.

A Financial Times spokesperson said: “More than 400 clients around the world pay for the FT’s global, independent journalism through syndication agreements.

“Wetherspoon News is not one of them and we take any cases of copyright infringement seriously.”

Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator said that the magazine had reached an agreement with JD Wetherspoon following the news.

“I'm delighted to say that The Spectator has reached agreement and the Spoons vouchers are in the post,” he said.

“We intend to invite some subscribers to help us destroy the evidence.”

Helen Lewis, Associate Editor of New Statesman, wrote on twitter that she expected their writers to be paid – in money.

“Just found out they’ve done it to New Statesman too,” she said.

“Thrilled as I am that we are read in the home of the country’s finest reasonably priced mixed grill, our writers deserve to be paid. In money.”

JD Wetherspoon and Gershon Media Relations, who publish the magazine, have refused to comment.