Sunlight Foundation's new plagiarism-detection software launches, claims a bust

Sunlight Foundation

A press release for Sunlight Foundation's new plagiarism-detection tool Churnalism claims a bust right out of the gate: Reuters' prematurely published obituary for George Soros "includes a number of references from his Wikipedia page," it says.

The tool compares text -- which you can either paste in or let Churnalism vacuum in from the URL -- against Wikipedia and a database of press releases, from "PR Newswire, PR News Web, EurekaAlert!, congressional leadership offices, the White House, a sampling of Fortune 500 companies, prominent philanthropic foundations and many more," the release says.

But could Soros' Wiki page have sucked in phrases from Reuters' obituary, as the release notes happened with a New York Times article? Edits made since the obituary was mistakenly published don't seem to indicate the wording moved in that direction (though I'm hardly an expert when it comes to forensic examinations of Wiki edits). I've contacted Reuters for comment; obviously the Soros piece was not intended to be published as is.

  • 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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