On Tuesday I learned that The Gazette has published four news stories during the past month that contain passages that are substantially similar, and in some cases identical, to passages in news stories originally published by The New York Times.
For this reason, reporter Hailey Mac Arthur, a college student doing a summer internship in our newsroom, has been dismissed from The Gazette. The Gazette forbids plagiarism, which is the act of employing the creative work of someone else and passing it off as your own. None of the four Gazette articles attributed borrowed material to the Times, as is required when quoting the work of some other publication.
Here are selected excerpts from the four Gazette stories, paired with links to the Times news stories from which material was inappropriately borrowed. The online versions of the Gazette stories no longer are active at gazette.com.
Gazette, June 6: It's time for Colorado's sheep to get a trim
With a little persuasion, Bob Schroth pulled the sheep onto its back and pinned it between his legs. Then, reaching for his clippers, he went to work.
NY Times, April 26, 1987: New Zealanders thrive on U.S. sheep shearing
With a heave, John Burt pulled the sheep on its back and pinned it between his legs. Then, reaching for his clippers, he went to work.
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Gazette, July 2: Bicycle safety a hit-or-miss proposition in Springs
From the vantage point of a bicycle, the city presents itself as a panorama passing by at a speed somewhere between the blur outside a car window and the plodding pace of walking.
NY Times, Oct. 3, 2004: Spin city
From the vantage point of a bike, the city presents itself as a savorable panorama passing by at a speed somewhere between the blur outside a car window and the plodding pace of walking.
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Gazette, July 2: Grief over pregnant mother's death overwhelms family
The collision of life and death plays out in this nondescript home at the end of the cul-de-sac in a quiet northeast Colorado Springs neighborhood. King stares blankly. ... Mike King stands up, carrying the weight of a man tossed into a cascade of disbelief, despair and depression.
. . . The crushing weight of death descended upon her family, her friends, the entire second floor of Memorial Hospital North.
NY Times, Feb. 18, 2007: Generations: A daughter's death, and a quest for answers
The collision of life and death tossed me and those close to me into a cascade of disbelief, fear, anger, confusion and grief.
. . . At that moment, as the crushing weight of death descended upon all of us, I promised my sweet daughter that I would seek justice for this tragedy. I would find the answers, hold people accountable.
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Gazette, July 6: Few factors set homeless apart from the fortunate
Defining homelessness is politically charged these days. A word used 20 years ago to evoke compassion for the poor is increasingly accepted as shorthand for a grab bag of undesirables - the deranged, disheveled or destitute. Yet the same word applies to the largely unseen women and children who make up more than a third of the homeless in Colorado Springs.
. . . The homeless usually bear their losses in silence, their misfortune unreported and their offenders unknown.
NY Times, Dec. 5, 1999: Labeling the homeless, in compassion and contempt
Defining homelessness is politically charged in New York these days. A word used 20 years ago to evoke compassion for the poor is increasingly accepted as shorthand for a grab bag of undesirables, the deranged, disheveled or destitute. Yet the same word applies to the largely unseen women and children who make up almost two-thirds of homeless shelter residents in New York City.
NY Times, June 29, 2009: Constant fear and mob rule in South Africa slum
In Diepsloot, people usually bear their losses in silence, their misfortune unreported and their offenders unknown.
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Every day, tens of thousands of citizens come to The Gazette and gazette.com in good faith, expecting from us in return that we will report the news as accurately, completely and originally as possible. That good-faith relationship is the foundation of all that makes The Gazette a viable enterprise. Without trust in our journalism, there is no business. For breaching that trust, I apologize to all Gazette readers.
When it comes to the integrity of our journalism, we owe you the same amount of accountability that The Gazette demands of public institutions in the name of their constituents. We will never be perfect, but we will always strive to live up to the principles of journalism and the trust placed in us by readers.