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The Irish Independent plagiarized an Irish Times’ article, iMediaEthics discovered.

Almost all of the Independent‘s report is taken word-for-word from the Times, including copying and pasting from the original writing or quotations from an interview.

See a screenshot below showing how much content was lifted. iMediaEthics highlighted verbatim content from the Times‘ report.

Eoin McVey from the Irish Times Editor’s Office told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “We won’t be pursuing The Irish Independent on this one” and that the newspaper’s work is unfortunately stolen often.

“We are more concerned with the very many articles taken from our website, barely rewritten at all and then passed off as  original material by a news aggregator…..with no attribution at all. The established media companies, to be fair, are seldom guilty of this. But it does happen,” he added.

The Independent helped itself to the Times content.

  1. The Independent lifted word-for-word content without quotations
  2. The Independent dropped quotation marks around direct quotes from Irish Times’ interviewee, in one case.
  3. The Independent re-wrote sentence for sentence, making just a few edits of the Times article. The Independent’s article is about a hundred words shorter.
  4. The Independent didn’t provide any link to the Irish Times article.

See below a side-by-side comparison of The Independent’s article with the Times’. iMediaEthics bolded verbatim content from the Times’ report.

  • Times: Irish Times columnist Breda O’Brien has stated that she and other members of the Iona Institute only sought libel damages after RTÉ refused to apologise over a claim of homophobia.
  • Independent: Irish Times columnist Breda O’Brien has stated that she and other members of the Iona Institute sought libel damages after RTE refused to apologise.

In the next example, the content is mostly verbatim but in a portion slightly re-written. We bolded verbatim content and underlined similar wording.

  • Times: She said it was ironic that Rory O’Neill had accused her of homophobia on the Saturday Night Show two weeks ago having referenced a column she wrote in which she condemned homophobia.
  • Independent: She told the newspaper that it was ironic that Rory O’Neill had accused her of homophobia on the Saturday Night Show two weeks ago as she had recently written an article condemning homophobia

Also, in the below example, The Independent even dropped quotation marks from the Times article, changing a direct quote from O’Brien to look like a paraphrase.

  • Times: Ms O’Brien said she was not “remotely interested in money”, but agreed to accept damages because “people don’t take you seriously unless there is some sort of settlement.
  • Independent: In an article in today’s Irish Times newspaper, Ms O’Brien said she was not remotely interested in money but agreed to accept damages because “people don’t take you seriously unless there is some sort of settlement”.

The Times’ article reported an interview with one of its own columnists, Breda O’Brien, on a recent libel settlement she and five others received from Irish broadcaster RTE.

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The Independent‘s article is 233 words long, with the Times‘ report coming in at 340 words.

The Independent did mention twice in its story that O’Brien’s comments were made to another publication, indicating The Independent was likely attempting to aggregate the Times report. The Independent’s report included the following attributon for O’Brien’s comments:

  • “she told the newspaper”
  • “In an article in today’s Irish Times.”

Below, see a screenshot of The Independent article. iMediaEthics highlighted content that is verbatim from the Irish Times so you can clearly see how much content was listed.

iMediaEthics used yellow highlight to mark the Irish Times’ words in The Irish Independent’s article.

 

Despite the significant amount of content The Independent lifted, the Irish Times’ McVey told iMediaEthics, “we would regard this as a relatively mild case of plagiarism.”

He added that the Irish Times has no problem if other outlets want to cite its work as long as “they attribute, prominently, where it came from and do not give their readers the entire article.”

In August 2013, Ireland’s Audit Bureau of Circulations tracked newspaper sales in the country for January-June 2013, according to The Irish Times.

The Irish Times’ “average daily circulation” was around 84,000 and the Independent‘s was around 121,000.

iMediaEthics has written to The Irish Independent’s editor Clare Grady multiple times for comment.

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Irish Independent plagiarized Irish Times story

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