Washington Post axes reporter for aggregation & attribution issues - iMediaEthics
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The Washington Post in 2011 (Credit: Flickr/Daniel X. O'Neil)

The Washington Post has “dismissed” reporter Marwa Eltagouri for attribution issues, and editor’s notes have been added to “a dozen stories…from late December to last month,” the Post itself reported.

Eltagouri was not accused of plagiarism. Rather, she did not properly attribute information from “at least a dozen other news organizations,” according to the Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi. “The reporter, Marwa Eltagouri, 26, was let go last week before completing the newsroom’s mandatory nine-month probationary period for new employees.”

Farhi explained:

“Eltagouri appears to have mimicked too closely the structure of the news stories she was aggregating. She also failed to attribute various facts from those articles, potentially leaving a reader with the impression that she had gathered the information herself. And her wording, at times, closely resembled — although it didn’t precisely copy — the source article.”

The Post declined to comment to iMediaEthics. We’ve tweeted Eltagouri for her response or explanation for what went wrong.

Eltagouri’s most recent byline is on an article from May 31, where she shared a byline with another reporter. The second most-recent article was from May 30, and carries an editor’s note that reads:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the McDonough County Voice. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

A May 25 story has this editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the Orlando Sentinel. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

A May 22 editor’s note reads:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the McClatchy Co. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

Another May 22 story has this editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the Oregonian. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

An April 27 story has this editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the New York Times. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

An April 26 story has the following editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by Slate. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

A March 27 story has this editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by CNN. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

A March 21 story carries an editor’s note:

Editor’s note: The Post has learned that this article contained several passages that were largely duplicated, some without attribution, from a story published by the Miami Herald. Post policy forbids the unattributed use of material from other sources.

iMediaEthics has contacted the Chicago Tribune, where Eltagouri previously worked, to ask if the newspaper will review her work. The Tribune‘s managing editor Peter Kendall told iMediaEthics:

“As a matter of course, we are looking over past stories. However, we never once had any reason to doubt Marwa’s ethics, her attention to her craft, or her desire to be a good and honest journalist.”

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Washington Post axes reporter for aggregation & attribution issues

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