The program, Close Up, aired a July 14 “segment analysing one family’s use of foreign-made goods.” But, a New Zealand Herald reporter spotted the program’s similarities to a January story aired by the ABC TV news program, World News with Diane Sawyer. See a video splicing the two segments together here.
Close Up host, Mark Sainsbury apologized July 18 on air, stating: ”The story we screened on Thursday night was inspired by a similar concept produced by our affiliate partner ABC America. Unfortunately, the story produced took the inspiration too far, a fact we were rightly picked up on … we let you down and for that we apologise.”
He added that the incident is being “thoroughly investigated” and that the program is “disappointed” to miss its “high journalistic standards,” according to Stuff.Co.Nz .
New Zealand Herald’s Ana Samways first called out the plagiarism in a July 15 report. Samways explained in her story that “Back in January ABC News ran a very similar story in the about products made in the US … and as this compilation of the two stories shows Lynch borrowed not only the idea, but the entire script.”
Anthony Flannery, head of news and current affairs for Television New Zealand Limited, which airs Close Up, reportedly has called for an investigation into the program’s use of “overseas footage,” according to Stuff.Co.Nz.
New Zealand Herald reported that Flannery stated “A situation like this hasn’t happened before and sufficient concern has been raised by it to require clear editorial policy in this area.” Meanwhile, Flannery did say that Close Up could “reversion” the ABC story.
In a report on the plagiarism accusations, the New Zealand Herald reported July 17 that “media commentator” Brian Edwards called the program “at best, it’s lazy journalism.”
iMediaEthics has written to both ABC News and Close Up for comment and will update with any response.