Letter from the editor: We're pulling a story that was plagiarized
Dear readers and University of Oregon community members,
On Monday, Emerald editors learned that a story that ran on the cover of the Emerald on Jan. 19 contained content that, upon investigating, turned out to be plagiarized from another author.
The story, titled “New flags outside the EMU bring awareness to Native American culture,” carries the byline of three Emerald staff members. But it is the work of just one of those reporters, Emma Scherzer, that is under question.
The material in question was originally written by University of Oregon student Breanne Schnell for a journalism class. In December, Schnell submitted the material to Ethos, and it was chosen to run in its Spring 2015 issue.
In January, our reporter submitted a story on the same topic. She left the Emerald shortly after submission for unrelated reasons, and did not know that the piece would be expanded into a cover story. Two other reporters contributed original work to the article.
It wasn’t until after the story was published that editors at Ethos alerted the Emerald to similarities with Schnell’s still-unpublished piece. An investigation found that the reporter was sent a copy of Schnell’s story prior to submitting her version to the Emerald.
Although the former reporter denied lifting the material, a significant portion of the Emerald story matches Schnell’s word for word.
Indications of plagiarism include:
• The overall organization of the story
• Identical sentences
• Identical quotes
This circumstance warrants a retraction and a sincere apology — to Schnell, the Ethos staff who first encountered and helped investigate the incident, and to our readers.
At the Emerald, our policy is clear: Plagiarism is unacceptable.
As a result of this incident, we will immediately institute a more rigorous and consistent new hire training to make our standards unmistakably clear, the minute new recruits join the staff.
We will continue to uphold a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism and fabrication of any kind.
Ethos and Emerald staffers worked together on identifying the issue every step of the way since it was first found. The Emerald has apologized to Schnell. There will be an investigation of this reporter’s previous work.
We genuinely regret this occurrence and are working to institute changes that we believe will prevent it from happening again.
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