NPR found plagiarism or attribution issues in ten articles by a staffer at New York Public Radio member WXQR, Brian Wise, who then resigned, NPR reported today.
In an editor’s note signed by Michael Oreskes, senior vice president for news at NPR, and Graham Parker, general manager of classical radio station WQXR, NPR revealed that “NPR Music editors have determined that phrases in 10 stories filed jointly on the NPR Music and WQXR websites were copied from other sources without attribution.”
WQXR online editor Wise quit yesterday because of the plagiarism, the editor’s note stated. Wise apologized in a post on Medium, which he also tweeted. That apology reads:
“NPR and WQXR have identified some sentences and phrases in my work that were similar to those used in other media outlets. They are right. These unintentional lapses are entirely my fault. I did not live up to my high standards or those of NPR and WQXR. I sincerely apologize for this.”
NPR responded by adding “an editor’s note … on each of the NPR Music and WQXR pages where evidence of this was uncovered,” according to NPR, which then “moved to one page, [the stories in question] where the phrases at issue have been highlighted and links have been added to the sources where they first appeared.”
According to the editor’s note, an NPR copy editor found the plagiarism. The editor’s note states:
“The instances that took place were discovered last week by an NPR.org copy editor working on a piece that Mr. Wise had submitted. That piece has not been posted on NPR.org or WQXR.org. After discovering that some key phrases in the piece had previously appeared elsewhere, the editor alerted newsroom management at NPR and WQXR.”
After Wise’s article was flagged, “a review was then begun of the other 40 pieces Mr. Wise had written jointly for NPR.org and WQXR since 2008. That review turned up the other instances between April 2011 and the unpublished piece in October 2015. ”
“WQXR is in the process of conducting a thorough examination of all of Wise’s pieces written exclusively for WQXR.org. So far, WQXR has not discovered further instances of plagiarism. WQXR will update its site if it does so,” the editor’s note reads, apologizing and pointing out that neither NPR nor WQXR allow plagiarism.
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An editor’s note on the list of affected articles by Wise reads:
“Editor’s note on Oct. 29, 2015: The 10 stories below originally appeared in the classical section of NPR.org’s music site, NPR Music. They were written by Brian Wise, a reporter and online editor for member station WQXR, and accompanied archived audio or video of performances from Carnegie Hall. They were removed because some unattributed words or phrases in it matched those in previously published sources. NPR cannot allow such work to stand. But a news organization should not hide its mistakes. Below, you’ll see the full text of all 10 stories, which include material taken from 17 sources without attribution. The words and phrases that were at issue have now been highlighted in bold and links have been added to show where the material was originally published. NPR’s policy on plagiarism is clear: It is unacceptable. WQXR accepted Wise’s resignation on Wednesday, Oct. 28.”
iMediaEthics has reached out to Wise via Twitter seeking further comment.
— Sydney Smith (@SSmithWriter) October 30, 2015
In response to our inquiry, NPR pointed iMediaEthics to its editors’ note as its statement. NPR confirmed “NPR reviewed the 40 pieces Mr. Wise had written jointly for NPR.org and WQXR since 2008.”
UPDATED: 10/29/2015 11:43 PM EST With information from NPR