Washington, D.C. CBS-affiliate WUSA unpublished this week a story that reportedly plagiarized from the Washington Post, Poynter’s Julie Moos reported.
According to Poynter, WUSA’s president and general manager Allan Horlick explained that a WUSA producer, Ashley Jennings, received copy-and-pasted sections of the Washington Post story in an e-mail from a co-worker, mistook the sections for a press release and re-wrote or re-used some parts of it.
This is the Washington Post’s Tom Jackman’s story, “Fairfax City Mayor Robert Lederer to step down.”
According to Poynter, the Washington Post contacted WUSA’s Jennings asking about the similarities.
A Dec. 24 search of WUSA’s website produces a Dec. 23 correction concerning the incident that reads: “9News Now inadvertently posted part of a Washington Post story about the Fairfax City mayor without proper attribution. We regret the error, and have removed the story from our web site. Here is a link to the Post’s story.”
See below a side-by-side comparison of the first two paragraphs from each story:
“Robert F. Lederer, the five-term mayor of Fairfax City, announced Thursday he will not run for another two-year term and will step down in June.
Lederer said his father, a Fairfax City councilman during Lederer’s youth, “always used to tell me, ‘Better for you to know when it’s time to go, before everybody else tells you.’ It just feels like the right time. It’s time for some new blood.””
“The five-term mayor of Fairfax City, Robert Lederer, announced he will not run for another two-year term on Thursday.
“Lederer says he will step down in June.
“Lederer said his father, the mayor of Fairfax City during Lederer’s youth, ‘always used to tell me, “Better for you to know when it’s time to go, before everybody else tells you.” It just feels like the right time. It’s time for some new blood.'”
Later on in the story, WUSA repeats verbatim this sentence from the Washington Post.
“During Lederer’s tenure, Fairfax City achieved AAA bond status, was ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the top three places to live in the United States, and was awarded a gold medal by the National Recreation and Parks Association, one of only four jurisdictions in Virginia ever to win the honor. “
The WUSA article also lifts quotations from Lederer and City Councilman Daniel Drummond.
We wrote in July when visual journalist Charles Apple criticized WUSA for pairing a “stock art” image of a bathtub with a report on a “baby left unattended in a bathtub” that died. WUSA later changed its bathtub image.