The Gazette, the English language daily in Montreal, today announced in a note to readers that due to repeated instances of plagiarism it will no longer publish the freelance soccer column written by Paul Carbray, a former copy editor at the paper.
The note, which is signed by the paper’s executive and managing editors, said the paper learned that a recent “column submitted for publication used material from another source without attribution.” From there, the paper did the right thing and examined Carbray’s previous work:
A check of columns we published over the previous two months turned up two other cases where, again, extended passages were taken from articles and blogs that had been published online by other media outlets. The passages were repeated in the Gazette columns with very minor changes and no attribution.
Carbray used to be a copy editor for The Gazette’s sports section, and the paper reports it has published his soccer column for 15 years. As noted by Montreal media blogger (and Gazette copy editor) Steve Faguy, the paper fired a freelance language columnist in 2006 for a similar offense.
“A memo was sent to The Gazette’s newsroom staff reminding them of the seriousness of plagiarism and the need to attribute. Hopefully we can prevent such a thing happening again,” Faguy wrote.
The paper’s note includes an apology to readers “for this lapse in our professional standards and our integrity.” It doesn’t include information about the writers or publications Carbray was stealing from, or an indication if the paper plans to delve deeper into its archives to see exactly how many columns included plagiarized material.
The fact that he plagiarized three times in the past two months alone means the paper should keep looking and see how far back this goes, and whether Carbray had a pattern of stealing from the same places. If so, those writers and publications deserve an apology from the paper as well. At the very least, there should be a full accounting of what Carbray was doing in the paper’s pages.