Back to Basics

Poynter faculty and staff have been writing about issues of plagiarism and fabrication, leadership, training, and newsroom culture for years. Here are some stories from the archives that may be useful as you appraise your own newsroom in light of the Jayson Blair case.

Plagiarism and Fabrication

The Line Between Fact and Fiction, 9/7/2004
By Roy Peter Clark
Journalists should report the truth. Who would deny it? But such a statement does not get us far enough, for it fails to distinguish nonfiction from other forms of expression.

The Global War on Plagiarism: Fighting the Pirates of the Press, 8/25/2004
By Roy Peter Clark
I’ve been tracking plagiarism cases in journalism for more than 20 years now; my first take was a 1983 Washington Journalism Review article titled “The Unoriginal Sin.”

Pee in the Cup, 5/11/2004
By Roy Peter Clark
A plan for the moral auditing of news.

The First Peril: Fabrication, 8/23/2002
By Chip Scanlan
Revisiting John Hersey’s “legend on the license”: NONE OF THIS WAS MADE UP.

The Unoriginal Sin, 3/13/2002
By Dr. Ink
Doc invokes an eerily prescient view of plagiarism from a 1913 journalism textbook: “Newspaper faking often appeals to the young reporter as clever and commendable…” Also check out this column, and this one. (Plagiarism is one of the Doc’s favorite topics.)

The Unoriginal Sin, 7/28/2000
By Roy Peter Clark
Same title, different piece. Roy describes how Poynter became involved in a case of plagiarism, and writes about the fuzzy line between sloppiness and stealing.


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Addressing Problems


Managing the ‘Unfit’ Employee, 11/23/2001
By Pam Johnson
Dealing with performance problems.

When the ‘Unfit’ Do Fit, 12/11/2001
By Pam Johnson
A follow-up, on hidden potential.

Debunking the Difficult Conversation, 8/5/2002
Difficult Conversations: From Dread to Determination, 12/9/2002
By Lillian Dunlap
The courage to communicate with underperformers.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All, 2/23/2002
By Gregory Favre
The virtues of small- and medium-sized papers.


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Leading a Newsroom

What Do Newspapers Need to Prove? 1/24/2002
By Barb Palser
What matters to a newspaper? Circulation? Credibility? Top editors respond.

I’m Your Leader — What Have I Done for You Lately? 12/20/2000
By Jill Geisler
How do employees feel as they cross the threshold into the newsroom?

Leaders as Learners, 9/15/2001
By Jill Geisler
How much training to newsroom leaders get? Not much.


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Creating a Culture

Leaders and Ethics: Set the Standard, Build the Culture, 5/10/2004
By Jill Geisler
Top leaders model the integrity, intellectual curiosity, work ethic, and emotional intelligence they expect of others.

Communication & Candor, 2/19/2003
By Jill Geisler
TV news directors agree on three priorities: Culture. Training. Communication.

Improving Copy Desk Morale, 5/1/1996
By Karen Brown Dunlap
Copy editors as “disillusioned gatekeepers,” stretched too thin.


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Building a Staff

An Editor’s Legacy: Insights from Matthew Storin, 6/26/2001
By Gregory Favre
A Boston Globe editor talks about hiring and cultivating young talent.
 
Good, Bad, and Ugly, 10/4/2002
By Gregory Favre
Building and keeping a high-quality staff.


* * *

The Core of Journalism


Journalism from the Bone, 5/17/2001
By Roy Peter Clark
Reviewing “The Elements of Journalism.”

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