Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Reporter Quits, Editor to Resign

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Reporter Quits, Editor to Resign

Article excerpt

When Christopher Garland discovered his editor at the Malone (N.Y.) Telegram was plagiarizing in her editorials, he was shocked. But the reaction by the paper's publisher outraged him even more.

Garland said nothing was done after he told publisher Russell Webster about the plagiarism by editor Phyllis Stewart. Garland knows of at least five editorials that Stewart plagiarized from wire copy, though he suspects more.

Copies of Stewart's editorials -- and the wire copy she pulled from -- show Stewart copied verbatim practically entire articles, usually changing only the lead.

Garland stumbled upon Stewart's infractions by accident while laying out the editorial page for the Jan. 25 edition. Because Stewart had not yet filed her editorial, Garland took another editorial off the wire to fill the space until Stewart's editorial was ready. He then printed out a copy of the page.

Later in the day, Garland found Stewart's filed copy, put it on the page and discovered "it's the same as the one I used as filler," he said. "I said, `She can't do this.'"

Garland, at the time a reporter at the Telegram, began searching the wire for more plagiarized editorials. In one week he found three articles.

Talks with Webster went nowhere, said Garland. "He told us to `hang in there.' I don't know exactly what that meant."

Another reporter, Bob Shea, also complained, to no avail.

Two weeks after the first incident, the count of plagiarized articles was up to five, said Garland who backed up the entire computer system so he would have a copy of everything. …

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