Sunday Herald-Sun plagiarises the news yet again.
It seems that in their haste to hide the and obliterate Hoser name, it appears that the Herald-Sun editors and staff have yet again been guilty of blatant information theft and plagiarization.
The latest effort was in the Sunday Herald-Sun of 24 November 2002, although the real story began about a week ago.
As most readers would know, Raymond Hoser's been in the snake research game for many years. He also does "snake rescues", which is the removal of snakes from properties when requests are made.
Using the trademark name "Snakebusters", Raymond Hoser sent a media release to most media last weekend in response to the hot weather and the high number of snakes brought out as a result.
On Monday 17 November 2002 some media took up the story and ran with it.
On Tuesday 18 November 2002 a scribe with the Murdoch controlled MX called Hoser that morning and that afternoon and ran a short piece on the snake story on page 5, under the headline "Snakes warm to summer".
This in itself was quite an achievement as we all know about the D-notice on using the name Raymond Hoser by the mainstream controlled media. One can only guess that this one slipped past the censors.
On the same day a journalist from the Sunday Herald-Sun, Mary Papadikis called Raymond Hoser on his mobile and spoke for well over an hour on the phone and asked countless questions about snakes and the like for a major story she had planned for the Sunday paper.
We know the time, because it shows up on the mobile phone.
From the conversation it was clear that she had no knowledge of snakes and Hoser had to fill in even the most basic of questions and answers.
Anyway, she promised a story in Sunday's paper and promised to feature details of Hoser and information from the original media release that sparked her inquiry.
She eagerly promised to call Hoser back later in the week. This was even recorded!
Sure enough, the higher scribes appeared to have got to her and the story appeared, but with all references to Raymond Hoser carefully removed.
The information as reported had come from Hoser, but was attributed to two other people, namely a Simon Watharow and Nick Clemann, both of whom Hoser had referred Mary to as further corroboration for the original facts.
By any reasonable measure, it appears that Papadikis had engaged in plagiarization of information and/or failure to correctly and honestly attribute the primary sources of her information.
This is particularly galling as it was noted that:
1/ Hoser had been the original source of the story via the media release and had been sucked dry of information for more than an hour as well as (by Papadikis's own admission) had his informative reptile and snake websites perused by her for some substantial time prior to this call,
2/ The information had been effectively repeated as if from Hoser's mouth by Parrot fashion.
3/ Some of the information is also effectively identical to that published in the 1989 book Australian Reptiles and Frogs which was coincidentally by Raymond Hoser and is widely used as a definitive reference source.
Detailed quotes from Hoser and subsequently reported in near identical wording included:
"Snake hot spots across greater metropolitan Melbourne include Eltham, Warrandyte, Rockbank, Hoppers Crossing, Caroline Springs, Ferntree Gully, Frankston, Brighton, Heidelberg and Abbotsford.
Victoria's most common deadly snakes are tiger snakes, copperheads and brown snakes."
"Simple steps can be taken to reduce the chance of a snake slipping into your property: you should keep lawns mowed and clear any clutter from your garden and around your house and sheds."
Which also coincidentally sound remarkably similar to the comments attributed to Hoser in the MX piece a few days earlier and/or the original Hoser media release reproduced below.
It's just a pity that no laws exist to stop the fraudulent practices as just documented.
Oh and for the record, the same thing happened a few months back when an earlier release by Hoser was taken up by the media and then too Hoser was called by a different Herald-Sun journalist.
Then too the final story had all references to Hoser carefully deleted as well!.
For the record, the relevant Sunday Herald-Sun piece by Papadikis follows:
Public warned: let snakes be
By MARY PAPADAKIS
TIGGER the tiger snake has a "good personality", according to owner Simon Watharow.
The deadly, 1.5m snake is the long-time handler's favourite pet and the star of his travelling show that aims to raise awareness about reptiles.
"He does this strange caterpillar crawl, which has the kids in hysterics," Mr Watharow says of 15-year-old Tigger.
"Tigger is a very laid-back kind of cruisy individual. He's got a good personality for a venomous snake."
For most Victorians, Tigger is the face of fear.
With more sightings in hotter weather and reports of two snake bites last weekend, there is mounting anxiety about the reptiles.
Experts say Victorians should stay away from snakes, which at this time of year are increasingly found in domestic yards.
Snake hot spots across greater metropolitan Melbourne include Eltham, Warrandyte, Rockbank, Hoppers Crossing, Caroline Springs, Ferntree Gully, Frankston, Brighton, Heidelberg and Abbotsford.
Victoria's most common deadly snakes are tiger snakes, copperheads and brown snakes.
Tiger snakes are found in all areas of the state, apart from the north and west. Brown snakes are also widespread. Copperheads are more common in southern and central Victoria.
Department of Natural Resources and Environment wildlife ecologist Nick Clemann said snakes should never be approached.
"If you try to kill a snake, it's probably going to try and kill you," he said. "And it is illegal to kill a snake -- they are protected wildlife.
"I'd like to see people have a bit of respect for these animals. They are an integral part of the ecological system."
Simple steps can be taken to reduce the chance of a snake slipping into your property: you should keep lawns mowed and clear any clutter from your garden and around your house and sheds.
Dr Ken Winkle, director of the Australian Venom Research Unit at Melbourne University, said up to 100 Victorians required hospital treatment for snake bites each year.
As many as four Australians die from snake bite each year, with a Victorian killed on average every two years.
Dr Winkle said young Victorians were over represented among fatalities.
He said tiger snakes and brown snakes were responsible for about 80 per cent of bites in Victoria.
Immediate medical attention was vital after a bite, he said. "People can die within minutes of a snake bite."
Oh, and for the record, the relevant Snakebusters media release that started it all is also shown below (as posted via e-mail and on the aap medianet site):
Media Release 17 November 2002
Yet another warm weekend has sent Melbourne people into their back yards and into contact with venomous snakes.
This weekend, with days hitting the thirties, Melbourne "Snakebusters" were inundated with calls and queries from people finding snakes in their gardens. Most commonly seen were Brown Snakes, Copperheads and Tiger Snakes, all of which can pack a deadly bite if bitten.
In response to the continuing demand from the public for more information on Melbourne's snakes, Snakebusters have launched a new website which has the most detailed information available on Melbourne's snakes, including how to identify them, as well as excellent photos of all local species and what to do in the event of finding one.
While snakes are generally inoffensive, they will bite if unduly harassed. And so the general advice is that if one sees a snake, simply walk away and leave it alone.
However snakebuster's spokesman Pyrrhus Acanthophis says that "If there are Children or pets involved or living nearby, they may get curious, play with the snake and end up with a fatal bite ... it's then that we recommend that a snakebuster be brought in".
Government licenced snake removalists are generally listed in the phone books under snake removals or similar and usually charge a service fee for their job, but Mr. Acanthophis reckons that it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
At this time of year most snakes are seen basking around north-facing and exposed retaining walls or moving away from such places in response to the warmer weather.
Recently snakebusters had a call for a Tiger Snake at Warrandyte and found a pair next to each other. One was in a bunch of Agapanthas, the other under tin.
Shortly after this there were calls from the same local area to remove a Tiger Snake from a shed and a Copperhead that had decided to look for fish in a pond next to a house.
To keep snakes out of the yard, the best policy is to keep lawns mowed and remove tin and other rubbish that snakes like to hide under, and of course, if you see a snake, don't try to catch or harass it.
Further information (including high resolution photos for publication of venomous snakes, snake handling photos, snake handlers), etc, can be found at:
or by phoning
0412 777 211
NOTE: People who find snakes in their yards and want them removed should look up their local snake catcher in the phone book (usually) under the heading "snake" or similar.
Non-urgent email inquiries via the Snakebusters bookings page at:
Urgent inquiries phone:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
(03) 9812 3322 or 0412 777 211