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SE caught plagiarizing

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Fink-Nottle, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Fink-Nottle

    Fink-Nottle New Member

    I am a sports copy editor, and in October I caught the sports editor plagiarizing (he cut and pasted another paper's story from the Web and inserted some local quotes; as soon as I read it I was suspicious; his defense: "I accidentally copied it"). Luckily, I caught it before the story was published. I reported the plagiarism to the executive editor. It is now December, and the sports editor has not been fired, and as far as I can tell, he's gotten off scot-free. He might be on double-secret probation, but whoop-de-do. The fact that I work for a plagiarist bugs me every single day. This is the person, come evaluation time, who will be judging my work. Of course, I could look for a new position, but I otherwise like my job and the company I work for (plus I'm not the one who should be leaving). Any suggestions on the next step I should take?
  2. writing irish

    writing irish Active Member

    One word. Plastics.

    Seriously, if the ethics at your company make you feel bad about your job, you should consider finding another employer down the line. If you feel that your company is a good place overall, you might want to think twice about jumping ship, though.

    In the meantime, just concentrate on doing your best. If you think this SE will be your supervisor more or less indefinitely, I'd think more seriously about moving on. If you think that there's a good chance he'll be gone in a couple-three years, maybe sticking around is best.
  3. Fink-Nottle

    Fink-Nottle New Member

    The SE needs to be fired, but I'm not sure if I should go over the executive editor's head and take the matter up the corporate ladder.
  4. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    you can't take matters into your own hands. it just doesn't work that way. i mean i guess you can do something like start a blog in which you expose him or give an exclusive to the local alternative weekly or anonymously send a letter to someone like the competing paper, but that'll kill your career. unless you're fine with the end of your career, get over it. it sucks but life ain't fair. or start looking for a new job.
  5. Fink-Nottle

    Fink-Nottle New Member

    Yeah, I think it's best that I I suck it up, quietly seethe and eventually look for a new job. Thanks.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    In a perfect world, you would be lauded for turning such a person in... But as we all know, things just don't work that way...

    If you work for a chain, send something anonymously to corporate and CC it to your ME, EE and publisher... Just make sure no one has any idea it came from you...
  7. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Screw that anonymous shit.

    Wait for your review. If it's bullshit, then throw down and name names. Let the chips fall where they may.
  8. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    You just now discovering that the rules are different for bosses?

    Travel, graft, free golf ... one set of rules for the bosses and one for the peons. It has always been thus.
  9. RIGHT NOW, you need to document exactly what you told your executive editor, make copies and send him one. I'd CC the ME, too. That way there's a paper trail. If your SE (or some other higher-up) uses it against you in your evaluation, they know you have the goods. Then you get a good lawyer. You might even want to talk to a lawyer now, to advise you what steps to take proactively, just in case. One meeting should suffice, and it would be money well spent for your peace of mind. Then pump up your resume. You don't want to work for sleazebags like that.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    He should do all that, but just wait until the review. After all, the editor knows he has the goods on him. The review might be fair.

    And he's got a chip in the big game. He's going to tuck that away and pull it out when he really needs it.
  11. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    i'm confused. did he put his own byline on it? how was the story presented?
  12. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    If it comes down to a fight for your job, be aware that if your state has a whistleblower law, it is illegal to retaliate against an employee for exposing a law being broken, and this seems to me that copyright law was violated.

    In some states, it is also illegal to knowingly state a falsehood on an employee evaluation -- the legal term is "private defamation."

    Of course, you can avoid all this by tipping off the person whose work was stolen and let his or her newspaper raise a stink over it.
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