From journalist Gerald Posner, whose work on Tiger Woods we very much enjoyed, on his departure from the Daily Beast:
My Resignation from The Daily Beast
Last Friday, Jack Shafer in Slate ran an article pinpointing five sentences from one of my stories in The Daily Beast, which I admitted met the definition of plagiarism and I accepted full responsibility for that error, an incident I called “accidental plagiarism.” On Monday, he had found other examples, and although I disagreed with some of his characterizations, I again accepted full accountability.
When The Daily Beast had asked me last Friday if there were any more problems than the five original sentences highlighted by Shafer, I had confidently told them, “No.” It was not because I had subjected my own articles to so-called plagiarism software, or because I was in denial about any deliberate plagiarism. It was, as it is now, my own belief that all the reporting I had done for the Beast since last June had been original and had broken news on a number of substantive issues.
This afternoon I received a call from Edward Felsenthal, the excellent managing editor of The Daily Beast. He informed me that as part of the Beast’s internal investigation, they had uncovered more instances in earlier articles of mine in which there the same problems of apparent plagiarism as the ones originally brought to life last Friday by Shafer. I instantly offered my resignation and Edward accepted…
I realise how it is that I have inadvertently, but repeatedly, violated my own high standards. The core of my problem was in shifting from that of a book writer – with two years or more on a project – to what I describe as the “warp speed of the net.” For the Beast articles, I created master electronic files, which contained all the information I developed about a topic – that included interviews, scanned documents, published articles, and public information. I often had master files that were 15,000 words, that needed to be cut into a story of 1,000 to 1500 words.
In the compressed deadlines of the Beast, it now seems certain that those master file were a recipe for disaster for me. It allowed already published sources to get through to a number of my final and in the quick turnaround I then obviously lost sight of the fact that it belonged to a published source instead of being something I wrote.
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