The Providence Journal has denied allegations made by a local news site that it cribbed language from area TV station WPRI, telling Poynter the paper has a news partnership that allows it to share content with the station.
The denial comes in response to an accusation made Wednesday by GoLocalProv, a site dedicated to local coverage of Providence, and a tweet from WPRI reporter Ted Nesi that showed two identical paragraphs from stories about political corruption that were published by WPRI and The Providence Journal.
“The definition of plagiarism is when one news organization uses the work of another one without attribution,” Providence Journal executive editor Karen Bordeleau told Poynter. “That is clearly not the case here. WPRI and The Providence Journal have had a news partnership for several years. We use each others’ content and we attribute it to each other.”
Patrick Wholey, general manager of WPRI, declined to discuss the incident in detail, but told Poynter the station appreciates its relationship with The Providence Journal.
The paragraph in the WPRI story Nesi cited has been updated with additional information and no longer contains the same language as The Providence Journal’s story.
The Providence Journal story Nesi cited is a short, unbylined article that credits WPRI in a separate paragraph. The paragraph republished word-for-word in The Providence Journal’s story also includes a credit to the station.
Nesi’s tweet comes a few weeks after The Providence Journal was accused of “free riding” on GoLocalProv’s journalism, according to GoLocalProv. GoLocal, the site’s parent company, has filed a complaint with Providence Journal parent company GateHouse Media accusing the paper of robbing the site “of the publicity and attention associated with breaking an important news story,” among other things.
Bordeleau also refuted claims that The Providence Journal lifted language from an earlier GoLocalProv story. Instead, she says, the paper interviewed similar sources as it re-reported the local news site’s article.
“I think GoLocal doesn’t understand the definition of plagiarism,” she said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with Bordeleau’s comments.