Australia’s Fairfax Media, which publishes The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, plagiarized from The Intercept, media site Crikey reported.
The writer for Fairfax, Philip Dorling, told iMediaEthics he is a contributor to Fairfax and that he agreed with Fairfax’s decision to unpublish the report.. He noted that he is leaving Fairfax because of staff cuts.
“The article did attribute the original information to The Intercept and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,” Dorling wrote. “I focussed on the Australian angle to the story but in a rush I mistakenly used some text from the Intercept. I should have paused and worked up that part of the text in my own words. It was an embarrassing lapse of judgement, made in a rush while writing in the early hours of the morning. It’s a mistake that’s all too common in today’s age of churnalism but that’s no excuse on my part. One has to take it on the chin.”
The plagiarism was busted by the Twitter account Media Direct, according to Crikey. In a highlighted comparison, Media Direct showed that Fairfax Media lifted several sentences from The Intercept. According to Media Direct, the article as published by The Age has been unpublished. The Fairfax Media article is still published on other sites like the Sydney Morning Herald.
See below Media Direct’s side-by-side comparison:
On Twitter, Dorling repeated that it was a “mistake” because he was working early in the morning.
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@TheMedia_Direct churnalism sure, my mistake as written in a rush at 5.00 am. As I’m leaving Fairfax my care factor was probably diminished
— PW Dorling (@Ausflatfish) May 23, 2015
Fairfax Media pointed iMediaEthics to Dorling’s comments in Crikey. We’ve asked if they will disclose to readers the issues in a correction or statement.
The Intercept’s May 21 story by Ryan Gallagher was titled: “NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones.” Compare it with the whole Fairfax Media article, “Australia a leader in hacking mobile phones, Snowden document reveals.”
Gallagher tweeted that the plagiarism was “pretty blatant indeed.” He told iMediaEthics by e-mail that he hasn’t heard from either Fairfax Media or Dorling about the incident.
“It is unfortunate and I don’t like to see it, but unfortunately this kind of lazy cut and paste news reporting is increasingly common these days,” Gallagher commented. “I see it happening to my stories quite a lot. This case was particularly egregious because it was obvious large chunks had just been rather shamelessly copied verbatim. You would’ve thought, as one of Australia’s largest news companies, Fairfax would have much higher standards. But apparently not.”
UPDATE: 5/25/2015 12:34 AM EST Added Dorling’s response
UPDATE: 5/25/2015 12:51 PM EST Added info, response from Gallagher