Purloined paragraphs on the page

If it is discovered that a Daily reporter has plagiarized something, he or she would be fired.

Molly Moker

Whether you’ve heard about it in class or read about it in a newspaper, we have all come to learn that plagiarism is wrong. But just because something is wrong doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

The Daily staff has found itself dealing with plagiarism. This is a serious offense for any newspaper, and it will not be tolerated at the Daily.

On April 16, Daily copy editors discovered two articles written by a Daily reporter had paragraphs lifted from Star Tribune articles.

Luckily the problem was caught before the articles were published. One article was rewritten by the reporter and the second didn’t run.

After further inspection into this reporter’s work Daily editors did not find any other plagiarism, but did find she had lifted information verbatim from news releases without attribution.

Although the Daily does not consider this plagiarism, it is considered bad journalism and unethical.

The Daily does have a policy against using written statements without attributing them. This means reporters who are found to be using news releases without attribution will be talked to by their editor, said Britt Johnsen, the Daily’s editor in chief. This policy will be more strictly enforced to ensure Daily readers get the highest quality information possible, she said.

“Readers need to know they’re not just getting fed information that is meant for the media,” she said. “They are getting information that is independent and their student fees are going towards real hard work.”

Plagiarism is an issue all newspapers take seriously and many have written statements about it. The Society of Professional Journalists compiled a list of ethics codes on plagiarism from various newspapers. The codes range from “Plagiarism will not be tolerated,” at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in South Dakota to “Plagiarism exists in many forms, from the wholesale lifting of someone else’s writing to the publication of a press release as news without attribution. The daily newspaper should be an original work. Do not borrow someone else’s words without attribution,” at the San Jose Mercury News in California.

Plagiarism is one of the most serious offenses a reporter can commit.

If it is discovered that a Daily reporter has plagiarized something. Before the Daily could investigate further into its recent plagiarism situation, the reporter in question resigned and no longer will be writing for the Daily.

Associate editors now will be more careful to ask reporters where they get their information. They also will check articles against stories that appear in the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press if similar issues are being covered by the competing papers.

If you ever suspect plagiarism in the Daily, please contact the readers’ representative. The Daily will not tolerate this sort of behavior, and action will be taken immediately.

Molly Moker is the readers’ representative. She welcomes comments at [email protected].