Editor apologizes to Washington Examiner for material his paper lifted

Washington Examiner

Oakland (Mich.) Press Executive Editor Glenn Gilbert apologized to the Washington Examiner for a “word-for-word usage of material” from a Dec. 6 Examiner article. He’d previously told Examiner Managing Editor/Digital Jennifer Peebles, “You’re not going to get an apology” and said his usage of the story, by Zack Colman, was “fair use.”

Reached by email, Gilbert told Poynter “If the accepted standard is use of direct quotes then I should have done that.”

“I define plagiarism as claiming material as your own when it is not — basically the failure to atttribute,” he wrote. “I used three separate attributions as sources of my material, and verified its accuracy from other sources. Except for one paragraph, I feel it is clear to the reader the material is from the Examiner, and is mostly statement of established fact.”

Colman used to intern for the Press, Peebles notes.

Gilbert told Poynter and the Examiner his paper has removed Colman’s work from his story and added a note to it saying “An earlier version of this column included information from a Washington Examiner report. Although the Examiner was clearly credited as the source, the publication objected to the use of the information and felt it should have been paraphrased. Our intention was not to slight the Examiner’s contribution and we regret any inappropriate attribution.”

The issue, of course, was not the information included but Colman’s wording of that information, which appeared unadorned by attribution in the Press.

Gilbert plans to retire next month, according to a report in the Press.

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  • steve849

    Why wasn’t attributing the content to the Examiner, three times, sufficient?

  • AWAnderson

    Fair use does NOT allow to copy something word for word with no attribution at all. Fair use only allows for CERTAIN AMOUNTS of material to be copied WITH attribution. In education, we are allowed to run copies of PORTIONS of text WITH ATTRIBUTION … but it is not a license to pass off another person’s work as your own.