Plagiarism at Hearst: A tale of two Texas newspapers
A few days ago, Bob Richter, the (not-invisible) public editor/ombudsman/reader representative of Hearst's San Antonio newspaper reported that one of the newspaper's columnists had resigned (no doubt under pressure):
“Ramiro [Burr] caused the Express-News to unknowingly publish work under his name that was not, in fact, his own work,” said Robert Rivard, editor of the Express-News.
“It was the work of at least one other writer who did not receive credit and who we did not know about. Ramiro decided on his own to resign just as our investigation was concluding and we were preparing to take appropriate action. We have a zero-tolerance policy whenever someone on our staff presents work as their own that is not their own.”
Richter has previously described the Express-News' zero-tolerance policy for plagiarism:
Express-News writers who plagiarize other writers' work typically are summarily fired. In an era when nearly anyone can publish nearly anything — on blogs, personal Web sites and the traditional ways — newspapers and media Web sites must be ever vigilant against plagiarism.
In contrast, at the Hearst daily in Houston, writers who have "borrowed" other writers' work with no consequences include a featured columnist and editorial writers, the editor doesn't seem to care, and the reader representative is an invisible man.