Safe Mode: On
British journalist covering Obama caught on camera in drunk, plagiarism rant

Raw video:Miami,November 04/08:Adam Smith, of the Birmingham Mail newspaper after drunken 'F*ck you' resignation and admitting to copying and pasting BBC web pages for his report.

STORY:Sometimes, you wake up following a drunken night out and realise you have sent an inappropriate text to an ex-girlfriend or your boss.

And sometimes you realise you have drunkenly admitted to plagiarism to camera, and spectacularly resigned from your job, shouting "F**k you' to your boss.

This is what happened to Birmingham Mail reporter Adam Smith on Wednesday morning, as footage appeared on YouTube of him writing a report on the US election, slumped on a Miami pavement, and barely able to speak.

Mr Smith, who also calls himself Steve Zacharanda in the hit video which was viewed almost 20,000 times in 48 hours, had taken a week's holiday to go to Miami to volunteer for the Barack Obama election campaign.

After the victory, and very much the worse for wear and drink, Smith was caught flopped against a set of railings, a laptop on his lap, filing an article about Mr Obama's victory for the Mail.

The maker of the video, a Dutch amateur journalist from Couscous Global, had stumbled across Smith by the roadside, and asked him what he was doing.

"I jumped on a plane on Friday to volunteer for the Barack Obama campaign," Mr Smith explained in a strong, if rather slurred, Brummie accent. "As an ill-advised promise, I've decided to say to my paper back home that I'd write about the American election.

"I wanted to be here because I'm here for history. The trouble is, the readers of the Birmingham Mail are going to get my version of history. And I'm just a little bit pissed..."

With a laugh and a clap of the hands, he added: "And thank god for the BBC, because I'm cutting and pasting, oh, baby!"

Not wanting to seem too unprofessional, he added: "I'm a proper news journalist."

To pile further misery on his ignominy, Mr Smith ended the video by announcing: "My name is Adam Smith, also known as Steve Zacharanda, who has just resigned from the Birmingham Mail, the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Sunday Mercury, to set up my own magazineā€¦F**k you, I'm doing what I want."

Mr Smith's employment status remains unclear today within a company which is undergoing significant restructuring.

Steve Dyson, editor of the Birmingham Mail, said: "This is an internal matter, so we cannot discuss it."

Asked about the company's attitude towards plagarism, he added: "Whilst we cannot discuss internal matters, plagarism will not be tolerated in any form by BTM Media Limited - although we do not believe that any has been taking place."

In a further comment left the next morning by Mr Smith on the YouTube page, he appeared to have sobered up significantly.

"Right, the thing is, right I've just woke up. And seen this video, which I don't really remember. I've been told to phone the Birmingham Mail because I am in trouble.

"I was off duty, I am on official holiday working at the South Beach Miami Barack Obama campaign where I had just done a 18-hour shift trying to make the world a better place. Please check every BBC News outlet and see if I have cut and pasted anything. I have not, it was a joke and should be taken in the spirit it was said."

In a follow-up video, filmed in the Obama campaign office, a more sober Mr Smith said he did not have a job anymore, and was "scared to speak to work" after phrases like "outrageous" and "bringing the company into disrepute" had been banded about.

He said: "The Birmingham Mail is a fantastic organisation, staffed by people who really care."

Loading the player ...
Embed CodeSwitch Player
Plays: 23105 (Embed: 0)

Added: Nov-7-2008 
By: jdischord
In:
News
Tags: British journalist covering Obama caught on camera in drunk, plagiarism rant
Location: Miami, Florida, United States (load item map)
Marked as: featured
Views: 25237 | Comments: 132 | Votes: 6 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE