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The Washington Post published three editor's notes about articles that copied and pasted from Government Executive. (Credit: Pixabay.com)

Three Washington Post articles by staffer Lisa Rein plagiarized from government news website Government Executive, the Post‘s Erik Wemple reported. Government Executive identifies itself as the “government’s business news daily and the premier website for federal managers and executives” and is based in Washington D.C.

According to the three editor’s notes atop Rein’s articles, the plagiarism affected a total of eight paragraphs in the three stories.

“We appreciate that the Washington Post’s editors have acknowledged ‘serious lapses’ in judgment and systematic misappropriation of Government Executive’s work,” Government Executive’s editor-in-chief Tom Shoop told iMediaEthics by e-mail. “We believe that a pattern of plagiarism should be treated very seriously. We take great pride in the original reporting produced by our staff.” He posted an image on Twitter of the print editor’s note:

Government Executive had complained to the Washington Post earlier this month about “what appears to be a pattern of improper appropriation” of its articles. “While we recognize that there is bound to be some overlap in reporting on federal agencies, the frequent similarities in Ms. Rein’s stories seems to us more than coincidental,” Government Executive wrote to the Post, Wemple reported.

iMediaEthics asked Rein for comment but she directed our inquiry to the Post managing editor Cameron Barr. We asked Barr if Rein was disciplined and if all of Rein’s work was reviewed. Barr told iMediaEthics by e-mail: “We have treated the concerns of Government Executive very seriously and in a manner consistent with other instances of this nature. I hope you will understand that because this is a personnel matter, I’m not in a position to comment further.”

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Rein apologized in an e-mail to the Washington Post‘s Wemple, calling the plagiarism “inadvertent lapses made in haste, and they fall short of the standards I have always set for myself.” She went on: “I feel terrible about this, and am committed to seeing that it is never repeated. My apologies to GovExec and to my readers.”

Rein’s Aug. 17 article, “A family in public housing makes $498,000 a year. And HUD wants tenants like this to stay.”

 

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained three paragraphs with sentences that were largely duplicated, without attribution, from a story on the Government Executive website. It is the Post’s policy that the use of material from other news organizations or sources must be properly attributed.”

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained a paragraph that was largely duplicated, without attribution, from a story on the Government Executive website. It is the Post’s policy that the use of material from other news organizations or sources must be properly attributed.”

Rein’s Jan. 7 article, “After feds bungle management, contractor to resume control of Army child-care program,” carries the editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained four paragraphs with sentences that were largely duplicated, without attribution, from a story on the Government Executive website. It is the Post’s policy that the use of material from other news organizations or sources must be properly attributed.”

Hat Tip: Jeremy Barr

 

CORRECTION - January 20, 2016 11:08 AM EST

Due to an editing error, the Post’s Barr was incorrectly referred to as “she.” Barr is a “he.” We regret the error.

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Plagiarism in 3 Washington Post articles, 8 Paragraphs didn’t credit Government Executive

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