Last October, Megan Card searched through more than two years’ worth of stories in University of South Dakota student paper The Volante. She was following up on a tip, looking for proof that a student on the paper was making things up.
Card, then the paper’s editor-in-chief, found that reporter Joey Sevin had cited several sources — 10 in all — that couldn’t be verified using university records.
“You read about people like Jayson Blair and you think, it could never happen,” Card said in a recent interview. “And then you go through a similar situation and you realize the kind of mentality people have to have to just go completely against everything you learned in journalism school.”
She fired Sevin. But then, she took another step: she identified him in an editor’s column.
Card’s decision to name Sevin puts her in one of two camps among student editors — those who say identifying fabricators and plagiarists is necessary to preserve a publication’s integrity, and those who warn that public identification can snuff out careers before student journalists ever see the inside of a professional newsroom. Read more