Daily Salt Lake City, Utah newspaper The Deseret News unpublished a column that lifted its contents substantially from the New York Times.
Jim Romenesko published an image of the print version of the newspaper’s correction. The correction wasn’t published online but admitted that the July 31 column by Richard Eyre, “Studies show women help men to be more generous,” didn’t “properly attribute.” The correction reads in part:
“Several paragraphs in that column erroneously failed to use quotation marks to properly attribute an article written for the New York Times.”
The newspaper noted that the Deseret News column “directly referenced” the Times article “at the opening and close” of the article.
iMediaEthics compared the New York Times article with the Google Cache of the Deseret News story and found that the Deseret News article was mostly a copy-and-paste of sections of the Times article. Sure, there are a few mentions of the Times article and a couple of instances where the Times is quoted, but the bulk of the article is either verbatim from the Times without giving credit and quotes or a slightly re-written version.
iMediaEthics highlighted the Deseret News article to illustrate. Anything in yellow is verbatim from the Times.
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The Deseret News said that the failure to attribute “was an inadvertent oversight,” according to Eyre, but that both the newspaper and the Eyres “formally apologized to the New York Times” and the author of the Times‘ article.
“We are conducting further review of this incident and our processes,” the correction adds.
iMediaEthics has reached out to both the Deseret News and the New York Times asking for comment and if they agree that this is a simple failure to attribute versus plagiarism. We’ve also asked the Deseret News to put its correction online. We’ve also written to the Eyres. We’ll update with any responses.
The Deseret News got iMediaEthics’ attention twice in 2011. In the summer, the newspaper unpublished a story after learning it was hoaxed by a phony press release saying the Southern Baptist Convention was backing gay marriage. Later in the year, a Utah mayor, Mike Winder, admitted that he had been using a fake name to write articles about his town. The Deseret News was one of the news outlets that published Winder’s fake bylined stories.