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Sari Horwitz suspended for plagiarism

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Versatile, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member


    This is astonishing to me. Such a reputable, wonderful reporter and writer.

    My best guess is this stems from the fact that she's probably rarely written on deadline in the last 10 years.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Cut-and-paste. I have always believed cut-and-paste would eventually be the death of me professionally.
  3. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Is cut-and-paste really so widespread? I'll look at what others have done while I'm writing, to make sure that I don't cover exactly the same ground, if they did beat me to publication. But I've never copy-pasted something into a Word document I'm writing from someone else.
  4. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

    I've done that, too. Every single time, I feel the need to take a shower. I always worry that won't be able to fight the urge of expounding on a nugget I might have missed. That being said, I would rather just keep on being an average hack who gets lucky every once in a while than to copy-paste.

    I really couldn't live with myself. Honestly. When I've messed up a headline or have something jumping to the wrong page or had an FTR, I've had to take ambien just so I wouldn't lay in the bed at night and think about it for hours upon end.

    I can't imagine the feeling of knowing proof of copy-paste is out there on the web for anybody to stumble across and call me out on.

    Plus, it's karma, too. I called a guy out for swiping quotes from me, after the source asked me a few days later, "How did Joe Blow get those quotes? You're the only one I talked to." Joe Blow lost his job over it, but he deserved it. I went to him first and he told me that was life, it was no big deal, and in so many words that I was just jealous that he was working at a bigger paper.

    I've had no trouble sleeping over that, though.
  5. Not so reputable, I guess.

    I can see how it is theoretically possible to make this mistake as it's described, but only because I don't see how anyone can be so stupid as to lift whole paragraphs on purpose from a major paper... or any paper with a website.

    But a suspension doesn't seem like enough punishment for outright theft.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    People always seem much more sympathetic towards a plagiarist when they know and/or like the author.

    It's like the reaction to steroid use in sports or scandal in politics. There's so little objectivity.

    When I see a post like this:

    @HowardKurtz -- HowardKurtz

    On the WP plagiarism: Sari Horwitz has won 2 Pulitzers. She made a bad mistake and is paying for it. Doesn't invalidate her whole career.

    I have to wonder. Because, plagiarism basically does invalidate your whole career. It's the Cardinal sin.

    And, as usual, the explanation makes no sense. Just once, I'd like to see someone say they did it.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Time to get the ax. A cub reporter would get canned for this. A Pulitzer writer should be as well, with no unemployment or severance.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I think you'd be stunned at some of the reporters who have been nailed for this who are still working. Many were unpunished, and others had suspensions that were masked as vacations.
  9. Matt1735

    Matt1735 Well-Known Member

    Two paragraphs about provisions of a federal civil rights law = laziness. Those could be paragraphs that the Republic writer got from the website that details the law. I doubt there was much original writing in that. I'm not excusing a straight cut-and-paste, but it's not a first-degree felony if it had been the only offense.

    However, 10 paragraphs is completely out of bounds. I'm surprised a suspension is the extent of the punishment.
  10. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Actually, her apology is pretty good:

    But, then the paper still tries to find a way to explain it:


    They should have just stuck with the apology.
  11. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I also don't get this comment from the same article:

    How does the internet make it more likely?

    I think it just makes it easier to do and easier to get caught.
  12. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Because you can't remember what you wrote and what you grabbed for research. Particularly when it comes to really nuts-and-bolts factual stuff: "Pujols batted .310 last year with 45 home runs."
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