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The Age accused the Herald Sun of plagiarizing its story on police bugging. (Credit: the Age)

The Age newspaper accused the Herald Sun of plagiarizing its June 3 report on police bugging.  According to The Age’s report on the alleged plagiarism, its police bugging story was an “exclusive report” and the Herald Sun lifted the story after seeing it in the Age’s first edition.

The Age’s June 3 report was sourced to “senior police and government sources.”  The Herald Sun’s was sourced to “a police spokeswoman” and Sen. Sgt. Greg Davies.

Both newspapers are dailies for Melbourne, Australia.  The Herald Sun, a News Corp.-owned newspaper, cites circulation figures of 484,000 to 489,000 copies.  News Corp. is a media conglomerate founded by Rupert Murdoch. StinkyJournalism couldn’t locate circulation figures for The Age.

Editors’ Exchange

The Age reported that its editor-in-chief, Paul Ramadge, contacted the Herald Sun’s editor-in-chief, Phil Gardner, alleging plagiarism.

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Ramadge reportedly called the Herald Sun’s report ”one of the worst examples of a story being lifted, without attribution, by a competitor newspaper.”  The Australian added that Ramadge accused the alleged plagiarism of lowering the Herald Sun’s journalism ethics and standards.

According to The Age, the Herald Sun’s Gardner “claimed three Herald Sun reporters verified the story independently after the early edition of The Age was delivered to their Southbank offices at 11.30pm.”  As the Australian reported, Gardner claimed that the Herald Sun independently checked the story because it didn’t trust The Age’s reporting and suggested that there was no plagiarism because the story was “in the public domain” by being published.

But, in response, Ramadge alleged the Herald Sun couldn’t have independently verified the story because “neither Victoria Police, the OPI or the government were aware that it was being published.”

The Herald Sun’s Gardner countered Ramadge stating:  ”You think we don’t have sources?  You think we don’t talk to the same people as you do? Calling it plagiarism is fiction, quote unquote.”  However, StinkyJournalism notes that the Herald Sun’s article reported that both the chief commissioner and Victoria Police wouldn’t comment.

iMediaEthics is writing to both the Herald Sun and the Age for comment and will update with any response.

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