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As they have done in the past, the Whittier Daily News has outright poached an exclusive story by published by Hews Media Group, slapped their name on it, then published it as exclusive on their website, without attribution to the Cerritos-based community newspaper.
The story involved Montebello Unified School District Chief Business Officer Ruben Rojas submitting fraudulent employment applications and resumes to several public agencies including MUSD.
HMG reported the story Nov 18; the WDN published their story Dec. 14, including posting the exact documents first obtained by HMG, without attribution.
“This business is tough enough especially if you’re free community newspaper with limited resources, we need all the exposure we can get. But these daily newspapers in Los Angeles, their main news writers time and time again have shown disdain for weekly newspapers, ignoring the basic standards of journalism and what the meaning of attribution is,” said HMG Publisher Brian Hews.
“A simple Internet search looking for Rueben Rojas Montebello would have 1st page results showing the three articles published by my newspaper,” said Hews, “you can’t tell me that the writer didn’t Google Rueben Rojas Montebello, I’m sure she did, yet they ignored the results.”
Prior to the Rojas article, HMG began the exclusive MUSD exposé with a story about MUSD bond advisor Lalo Trujilloand his relationship with Ruben Rojas. Trujillo is also a registered security advisor.
HMG was alerted that Trujillo, a “trusted” advisor to the MUSD Board, lied during a regular Board meeting.
He was asked by MUSD Board Member Hector Chacon twice if he worked for Pico Rivera; Trujillo denied he worked at the City both times. A document obtained by HMG showed that Trujillo worked for Pico Rivera.
Montebello Board President Ben Cardenas, who worked with Trujillo, did not question or contradict Trujillo even though he sat next to Trujillo during Pico Rivera council meetings.
The exposé also connected Ruben Rojas to Trujillo.
The story garnered 323 likes on Facebook and over 10,000 views.
HMG then exclusively reported November 18 that Rueben Rojas fabricated his employment application submitted to several public entities including Governor Brown’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank), almost 30 days prior to WDN’s article.
That story garnered 245 Facebook likes and over 8,000 unique views.
The story outlined – in much more detail than the WDN story – how Rojas defrauded several public agencies including MUSD, Governor Brown’s office, and the IBank.
The latest exclusive story HMG published about Rojas found he was accused of misconduct at Kern County Unified School District and fired from his job in 2012.
HMG obtained a letter, authored by Chris Hall, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services at Kern, that left no doubt as to the severity of Rojas “misconduct. ”
The letter started, “effective immediately, I am placing you (Rojas) on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations that you committed misconduct. ”
The letter went on to indicate that the Rojas’ misconduct was severe, implying that Rojas could have threatened or harassed Kern staff and/or students.
Hews said, “I have emailed the reporter and the publisher twice asking them for attribution at least online and they haven’t responded. This is the level of journalism these days, where unprincipled publishers just steal other publisher’s hard work, put their name on it, and publish it like it was theirs. It’s really disgusting, inline with the fake news organizations that are proliferating on the internet these days.”
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