Friday, September 29, 2006


Thieves and honest journalism

The Enquirer's editors are wrong. Very wrong, with a severe case of head-up-their-candidate's-assitis. And the folks at the OH-02 blog are correct for hammering the Enquirer on this.

By comparison, we have been reminded by a reader that the editors of the Dispatch decided to take the high road on PR high-jinxs. This from Ben Marrison in 2003 and this policy has not crippled the paper:
For the second time in a month, we have discovered that a guest writer plagiarized part of an opinion piece published in The Dispatch.

. . .

Finally, after meeting with Glenn Sheller, our editorial page editor, the president of the Buckeye Institute, Samuel R. Staley, admitted that the research and text were prepared by a public-relations firm in Alexandria, Va., and sent to people who would use the information in such columns.

. . .

I share this with you not to air dirty laundry but to demonstrate our commitment to honest journalism and to emphasize how sacred we hold the public's trust.

Some apparently do not realize that when we allow a guest columnist on our Forum page, we are trusting that the writing belongs to the person whose name appears atop the column. The reader, unless told otherwise, believes that the words and thoughts are those of the author.

. . .

We hope to prevent this from happening again. We will send reminders to those who write for us that their submissions must be their own work, unless they provide credit to the originating source.

Because we cannot cross-reference every submission, we likely won't know when someone misrepresents his or her work.

But in this Internet age, breaches of trust almost certainly will be exposed. And when they come to our attention, we'll expose them.

We hope the word thieves will get the message.
Honesty. Plagiarism. Fraud. Theft. Strong, but accurate words. We have our disagreements with the Dispatch at times, but they deserve credit for understanding the need to take steps to preserve the semblence of integrity and to avoid being led around by the nose by the GOP. Such is the difference between desiring to be professional and resigning yourself to hackerdom.


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