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The Brock Press admitted plagiarizing from a website but then deleted its confession.

On Sept. 17, the Brock Press, the weekly “independent student newspaper at Brock University” in St Catharines, Ontario, published a “retraction and correction” that confirmed it plagiarized from the Brock Bug and that it disciplined the staffer responsible.

But, the retraction was missing from its website this week and the link to the retraction goes to an error page. iMediaEthics viewed it through a Google cache.

“The retraction was printed in our hard copy edition that week, and is no longer on the site, as is the original article that it referred to,” Tim Stacey, the editor for the Brock Press, told iMediaEthics.

The Brock Bug, which identifies itself as “an independent intermedia publication” covering Brock University, had called out the Brock Press for the plagiarism in a Sept. 10 blogpost.

While the Brock Bug said the editor of the Brock Press, Stacey, was responsible for the plagiarism, Stacey said it was a staffer — since fired — who plagiarized.

“The BUG claims I plagiarized the article, but that’s most likely due to the paper being under my editorial oversight, and not a claim that I myself wrote the piece, as I did not,” Stacey told iMediaEthics.

Stacey added that the paper has “changed its editing process by expanding it” because of the plagiarism. “More rounds of editing take place than before the incident,” he wrote.

The Brock Bug posted a few side-by-side examples showing its Aug. 31 article, “Everything you need to know about Brock Radio kicking BUSU out of its board,” compared with the Brock Press‘ Sept. 9 report, “Brock Radio kicks BUSU off board.”

The Brock Press’s article has since been unpublished.

The Brock Bug pointed out that when stealing the article, the Brock Press also deleted attribution and made other errors. For example, the Brock Bug‘s article attributed information to Brock TV, but when lifted by the Brock Press, that attribution was cut from the article.

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“I attributed BrockTV for the news I was covering: Eady planned a RILRC motion. I only knew this because of BrockTV, which is why I provided attribution. So, not only was the entire paragraph plagiarized, but it removed a key attribution,” the Brock Bug wrote.

The Brock Bug went on, “If this were a classroom, the article’s author — who produces many news stories — would clearly be facing Academic Misconduct,” which penalizes plagiarism.

“This tremendous lack of editorial control, and blatant disregard of the basics of plagiarism significantly degrades The Brock Press institution as a whole,” the Brock Bug wrote.

The full Brock Press retraction says:

“After accusations were raised that The Brock Press published plagiarized writing from community member, Sandor Ligetfalvy’s website, brockbug.com, an investigation was launched. The senior staff found that part of the article “Brock Radio kicks BUSU off board” was indeed copied and reworded. The author of the article has faced appropriate disciplinary action and the editing process for the newspaper’s production has been expanded in the hopes that an error this serious will never make it to print again.

“In the process of rewriting the copy, some facts were misconstrued. A correction has been printed below:

“The possible lawsuit against Brock Radio was not being considered by BUSAC councillors bEady and Tulloch themselves

“Councillor Eady’s intention to move to put BUSR under review of Bylaw 4200 was announced through Brock TV”

Earlier this year, iMediaEthics reported on the Concordian, the student newspaper for Quebec’s Concordia University, which plagiarized from the Canadian University Press. Canadian University Press reminded member newspapers about plagiarism and attribution standards at the time.

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One Response

  1. Cupcake says:

    My paper, a major daily, did the same thing I think. It discovered a plagiarized article, unpublished it and posted a retraction (in the paper but on a different url than the original article on its website), and then later deleted the retraction notice. Hopefully Brock U students will learn a lesson the pros at my local paper failed to grasp. [More about my local paper’s case here: http://mediabugs.org/bugs/disappeared%5D

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