Spivak: Chron reporter borrows without attribution (updated)
Here is reporter Todd Ackerman putting salt into context:
“Suspicions about salt are not new. In 2,500 B.C., physicians in China warned patients that if they used too much, their ‘pulse’ would harden. Today, doctors say…”
For grins, I punched “salt 2500 bc china” into Google. A bunch of stuff came up, including the reporter’s source. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997 ran a story in its FDA Consumer magazine that reads as follows:
“Scientists’ suspicions about salt are not new. As Jeffrey Cutler, M.D., director of the Clinical Applications and Prevention Program, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, points out, physicians in China back in 2,500 B.C. warned patients that if they used too much salt in their food, their ‘pulse’ would harden.”
The language in the FDA report – which is not cited in the Chronicle story – is almost identical to Ackerman’s. I’m no expert, but I don’t think that’s plagiarism. Just lazy journalism.
It seems fairly clear that Ackerman "borrowed" parts of Alexandra Greeley's writing (which was in an article in an FDA magazine, not an FDA report) without attribution. Whether you want to call it plagiarism is up to you.
UPDATE: Matt Bramanti finds additional instances of apparent "borrowing" without attribution.