Aspen Peak parts ways with editor |

Aspen Peak parts ways with editor

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times

Aspen Peak magazine parted ways with its editor-in-chief, Damien Williamson, after the Aspen Daily News reported Thursday that Williamson, one of its columnists, plagiarized at least 14 columns from other Daily News writers.

At the time that Aspen Daily News staff writer Chad Abraham reported the story, Williamson still held his position as the biannual magazine’s editor-in-chief.

On Thursday, Aspen Peak publisher Alex Halperin said, “Damien is no longer with Aspen Peak.”

“We felt that he was wonderful to work with and we had no doubt anything that he did for us was original,” Halperin said. “But the fact that there was plagiarism that was identified at the Aspen Daily News called into play our journalism integrity, and we felt that it was best to part ways right now.”

The Aspen Daily News ran the story on its front page Thursday with the headline “Daily News columnist fired for plagiarism.”

The story reported that former Daily News food columnist Rob Seideman discovered two weeks ago that Williamson had put his name on at least 12 columns that Seideman originally wrote.

According to the article, Williamson had removed Seideman’s columns from the Daily News online archive.

Seideman informed Aspen Daily News owner Dave Danforth last week of his discovery, the story said.

Along with contributing food columns for the Daily News’ Time Out arts and entertainment section, Williamson was involved with the newspaper in other capacities for the past 10 years, Daily News Editor Curtis Wackerle told The Aspen Times on Thursday.

Wackerle described the news of his former colleague’s dishonesty as “gut-wrenching.”

“It was really unpleasant,” Wackerle said. “Damien’s a friend and a colleague and someone I really do love.”

Williamson could not be reached for comment when contacted by The Aspen Times on Thursday.

In an email to the Daily News, Williamson said he “made several careless, avoidable and intentional missteps that undermine my character and integrity when I chose to submit another writer’s work as my own,” the story said.

He went on to say, according to the Daily News, that the plagiarism was limited to the bi-weekly food column but he admitted it was a betrayal to his colleagues and readers, and apologized.

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