WaPo Apologizes For 'Substantial' Plagiarism In 2 Articles; Suspends Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter


Yesterday the Washington Post posted an Editor’s Note apologizing for “two articles published by The Post online and in its print editions earlier this month contained substantial material that was borrowed and duplicated, without attribution, from The Arizona Republic newspaper.”

Later the note clarifies “substantial material” as “10 of the article’s 15 paragraphs were copied in whole or in part from an article that first appeared in the Republic.” 

Which is a lot.

Executive editor Marcus Brauchli told Michael Calderone at Yahoo that “this is the most serious kind of matter for a news organisation…There are no mitigating circumstances for plagiarism.”

The articles in question were about the Gabby Giffords shooting and the indictment of Jared Loughner, though the note does not mention the reporters name, nor link to the pieces.

Calderone also note that the articles “appear to be written” by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sari Horwitz, whom the paper has now suspended for three months.  Horwitz issued his own statement of apology:

“I am deeply sorry. To our readers, my friends and colleagues, my editors, and to the paper I love, I want to apologise. Under the pressure of tight deadlines, I did something I have never done in my entire career. I used another newspaper’s work as if it were my own. It was wrong. It was inexcusable. And it is one of the cardinal sins in journalism. I apologise to the Arizona Republic and its reporters and editors. I accept the punishment that The Washington Post has given to me. And I am grateful the paper will allow me to return. I hope to come back a better journalist and a better person.”

The paper has since gone over Horwitz’s article from the last year and found no other cases of plagiarism.

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