Thursday, July 16, 2009

Colorado Springs newspaper outs plagiarist

This is really sad. A journalism intern, no doubt trying to make a good first impression, draws on the best to spice up her coverage.

A few years ago the Journal caught a reporter making up sources for a series of feature stories and quietly let him resign. It never did bother to tell its readers that they had been duped. As I recall, that happened during the editorship of the current chief content leader of

So kudos to the Colorado Springs paper for doing the right thing.


Brown said...

Of course this is beyond inexcusable, but I honestly think that many young people don't understand that taking something off the Internet is stealing (witness all the music "sharing.")

Jim of L-Town said...

The following comment was slightly edited by me to remove the name of the columnist. I was not personally aware of this situation, so am being a little cautious here. Except for the parenthetical phrases the post remains intact.

When (a journal columnist) was caught making up quotes by radio host Laura Ingraham, the current Content Czar of Ann let him take a 2 week "vacation," and then when he returned got off with a "sharp eyed reader noticed that I put quotes around something that was a paraphrase." In reality, it wasn't even a paraphrase, the only accurate thing in the column was the general topic at hand. Everything else about it was (the columnist's) fantasy.

Jim of L-Town said...

Dear Brown:

I might agree with you, but she is also a college journalism student and unless it is a really, really bad journalism program, the subject of plagiarism should have been covered fairly early on.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, um, the whole stance on journalistic standards in the Booth chain baffled me. Knew of a reporter who made stuff up for columns and stories and he got a slap on the wrist. Knew of a reporter who failed to ever turn in stories on time, thus screwing up the budget for that day, and never got reprimanded. As the joke went, you had to be incarcerated to be fired by a Booth paper.

Jim of L-Town said...

The Dave Mayo situation is not the first in which a Grand Rapids sports writer had his career saved after a major ethical stumble.

I remember back in the late 1970s a GR sports writer covering the Kentucky Derby lifted a complete local weekly column and sent it to the paper as its own.

After he was discovered, he was required to write a mea culpa column, similar to Mayo's, and complete his career.

brown said...

All I am saying is talk to a teenager/young adult. They'd never dream of copying content from an actual newspaper or book but have this mythical notion that Internet material is "free."

I hope colleges are covering this in their freshman orientations under the "academic standards" and "cheating" sections. But I am telling you, many kids will look you in the eye and tell you that it's not cheating to take stuff off the Internet.

Jim of L-Town said...

Brown, I agree with you about the Internet copying thing. My only point, and I don't want to belabor his, is I would give less leeway to a person in a journalism program who is far enough along to win an internship.

But yes, someone needs to be telling students, perhaps earlier than college, that copying work not your own is verbotin.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 16 complains of the performance/ethical shortcomings of a reporter and a columnist, but I can assure him/her there are whopping examples of journalistic dishonesty the leadership in Flint.

In one glaring recent case, the guy running the newsroom took a press release from Flint City Hall, put quote marks around some of the statements and attributed them to a spokesperson. Of course, he didn't actually talk to the spokesperson, nor did the spokesperson actually say the words this editor attributed to him. A reporter doing this would have been fired, of course, but that's one of the great double-standards, the difference between being an Indian and being a chief.

Anonymous said...

The content czar has never been consistent on this point. He fired a features writer at Bay City for the same thing, before his Journal tenure.