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In my opinion, we are surfacing more incidents than in previous years. At the same time, this was by any measure a terrible year in terms of the egregiousness of the offenses, and the frequency of them.As I previously noted, one of the disheartening aspects of 2012 was the lack of accountability by newsrooms when the worst occurred within their ranks.June • Hundreds of stories produced by journalism outsourcing company Journatic contained fake bylines, and in one case, plagiarized material and fabricated information.
(Note: I count the exposure of a serial plagiarist as a single incident, rather than adding a digit for each time they stole.) Aside from that, this year was notable in that it saw three serial fabricators exposed at newspapers in the United States.
There were also two serial plagiarists who, strangely, both stole humor columns.
(I’m participating in the group.) This is encouraging news, but at this time of reflection I hope every newsroom and newsroom leader takes time to think about prevention, and about how they would handle a serious ethical transgression. January • The Fairfield Minuteman fired sports editor Eric Montgomery after he plagiarized from two competing papers.
February • A story on Fox included passages lifted from The Atlantic Wire.
He repeatedly, and brazenly, stole from humor writers over a long period of time.
Writer Dave Fox, who exposed Flatland, estimated that “80 to 90 percent” of Flatland’s columns included stolen material.
• Yet another serial plagiarist of humor writers was also exposed in March.
Steve Jeffrey, the publisher and editor of the Anchor Weekly in Chestermere, Alberta, plagiarized a significant portion of his “Sittin’ in the Lighthouse” columns.
The site later added an editor’s note about the plagiarism and offered an apology.
Tobin for plagiarizing from two Maine newspapers, The Forecaster and Current.