Jon Flatland was fired for plagiarizing in the ’90s

Ashley Tribune | Poynter

Jon Flatland's resignation last week for serial plagiarism was not the first time he's lost a job for stealing other people's work. Flatland was fired for plagiarism while serving as editor of the Cavalier County Republican in Langdon, N.D., Francis Materi writes in this week's edition of the Ashley Tribune, where Flatland was editor from 1989-'94. Tony Bender, who publishes the Tribune and used to work for Dickson Media, which owned the paper at the time, told Materi that he fired Flatland when he was caught pilfering Lewis Grizzard's work.

“I should have hung (Flatland) from the highest tree,” Bender said. “Naively, I never imagined he would do it again. It appears, given enough rope and a complete lack of conscience, Jon has finally managed to hang himself.

“I have always believed in second chances and redemption,” Bender added. “Jon Flatland has sorely tested my convictions.”

Flatland resigned from the Times in Blooming Prairie, Minn., after a call from Greg Bulmash tipped him off that his plagiarism had been discovered. Flatland had taken from Bulmash's work as well as from humor writer Dave Fox, who stumbled upon the plagiarism then alerted others.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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