Pennsylvania Times Leader Journalist Fired for Plagiarizing - iMediaEthics

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Merriam Webster's definition of plagiarize. (Credit: London Allen)

The Times Leader fired a reporter who plagiarized in at least five stories, the paper’s executive editor George Spohr reported.

The reporter, who wasn’t named, was fired a few weeks ago and the Times Leader investigated “her entire body of work,” Spohr wrote.

The Times Leader is a daily newspaper in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The reporter stole from numerous websites including ScrantonMade blog, websites and

Three of the stories plagiarized “from multiple sources.”

Spohr listed the five articles and said the paper is going back to fix the reporter’s stories. “In some cases, it’s as simple as attributing information to the original source – a simple step our reporter should have taken but inexplicably did not,” he noted.

“While I wish I could promise these types of errors will never again appear on our pages, the fact is a reporter who is intent upon deceiving their editors and our readers can get away with it – albeit briefly,” Spohr said.

He added: “That said, our editors are brainstorming ways to limit bad journalism from appearing again. We’re also taking steps to ensure we are completely transparent with our readers; this column is one step in that process.”

The paper is still investigating the reporter’s work for more plagiarism, Spohr said.

Spohr announced the firing of the unnamed reporter in an April 8 column, “Times Leader reaffirms its commitment to credibility.” “An investigation into that story revealed the reporter copied and pasted pieces of content she found online and passed them off as direct quotes from a source she interviewed for a story,” Spohr said.

The Times Leader deleted the story in question and had someone else “re-report the story” for the paper. Spohr also apologized for the plagiarism.

Spohr said the paper has “a zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism” and that as  far as it knew at the time the plagiarism “was an isolated incident.” Of course, according to Spohr’s May column, it’s clear it wasn’t.

iMediaEthics has asked Spohr for more information about this incident.

Hat Tip: Jeffrey Seglin


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Pennsylvania Times Leader Journalist Fired for Plagiarizing

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