Student Editor Plagiarized 'In as Many as 16' Articles, Colorado newspaper

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The Criterion disclosed a recent case of plagiarism. (Credit: Criterion, screenshot)

Colorado Mesa University’s “student run newspaper” The Criterion fired a student editor for widespread plagiarism, according to an Oct. 22 announcement on its website. The university is located in Grand Junction, Colorado, near the border to Utah.



The Criterion didn’t name the editor, but said the person in question was female. The editor plagiarized “from at least 22 sources” in “as many as 16 of the opinion pieces she has written since Oct. 2012.”

The numerous media outlets plagiarized included “Alternet, The Associated Press,, The Chicago Reader,, E! Online,, The National Post, The New York Daily News,The New York Post, the web portal,, Slate, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.”

The Criterion said it unpublished all of the editor’s work after having “discovered the acts of plagiarism Monday Oct. 21.” The newspaper added that it alerted the university’s “Administration, Student Life and Mass Communication Department officials” about the plagiarism, and that it’s “engaged in an ongoing investigation as to the extent of the plagiarism.”

iMediaEthics reached out to Eric Sandstrom, the advisor for The Criterion. Sandstrom is also the school’s SPJ chapter adviser.  He told iMediaEthics by e-mail that “at this time, we are not making any public statements regarding this incident.”

iMediaEthics has written to The Criterion’s Editor-in-Chief Levi Meyer asking how the newspaper found out about the plagiarism, why The Criterion decided against naming the editor and what The Criterion‘s investigation of the incident included.  We’ll update with any response.

Earlier this month, iMediaEthics wrote about attribution problems with a Deseret News intern’s work.  After iMediaEthics flagged a story for questionable attribution, the Utah newspaper investigated intern Michael Smith’s work and found 40 of 76 of his articles had improper attribution. Smith told iMediaEthics that he didn’t know proper aggregation standards and apologized for having “failed.”

Hat Tip: Poynter

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Student Editor Plagiarized ‘In as Many as 16’ Articles, Colorado newspaper unpublishes

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