The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association suspended the Anchor Weekly for a year, according to an Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association press release sent to iMediaEthics.
As we wrote earlier this year, the Anchor Weekly's owner and regular columnist Steve Jeffrey was accused of plagiarism and resigned March 27. Indianapolis columnist Erik Deckers complained to the Alberta Press Council about Jeffrey and according to the Telegram, Jeffrey was accused of lifting "more than 40 of his weekly columns in the past year from 14 different writers." Jeffrey resigned as publisher and editor March 27.
According to the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association's press release, Jeffrey said he "got lazy and ran out of time," which led to his plagiarism. The press release noted that Jeffrey reportedly "offered financial compensation to at least one" person who he plagiarized from.
A May 14 press release from the Alberta Press Councilnoted that Jeffrey also published a May 3 column "No More Lighthouse" in which he named people he plagiarized. In that column, he wrote that "many of the words I used in the Lighthouse column over the past year were not mine." He wrote that he plagiarized because "life got busier and busier."
"I exercised poor judgment by pulling things out of my inbox to fill a page in the paper," he wrote. He added that "The articles contained large portions of their work without credit, and I need to apologize."
See below a screenshot from the column.
See above Steve Jeffrey's column about his plagiarism, sent to iMediaEthics
by the Alberta Press Council. (Credit: Anchor Weekly, via Alberta Press Council)
The Alberta Press Council's press release added that it "views plagiarism as a serious ethical breach of accepted standards of conduct within the newspaper industry. The Council welcomes Mr. Jeffrey's public acknowledgement of his wrong-doing and in light of this development, which is akin to the result that would be achieved by way of a formal adjudication under the Council's complaints process, the Council shall proceed no further with the complaint received."
iMediaEthics has written to the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association asking what it means for the newspaper to be suspended for the year. We will update with any response. We have also written to Jeffrey asking what his involvement with the newspaper is and will update with any response.
UPDATE: 5/23/2012 6:25 PM EST: The Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association's executive director Dennis Merrell explained to iMediaEthics by e-mail what the year-long suspension of The Anchor Weekly will mean. He wrote:
"What it means for the Anchor Weekly is that their newspaper is suspended from the association for a period of one year.
"They have not been expelled from the association, which means that they are still technically considered a member.
"However, it will mean some financial hardship for the newspaper, as it will be subject to non-member advertising placement fees (the association operates an advertising service, whereby member newspapers receive advertising that is placed the the AWNA's ad service) during the suspension. As well, newspaper staff would be asked to pay non-member fees when attending any association events over the next year.
"Our ad service would not actively promote the Anchor Weekly during its suspension."
UPDATE: 5/25/2012 4:45 PM EST: Added a screenshot of the Anchor Weekly's Steve Jeffrey's column about the plagiarism and a quote from the column.