SPJ Ethics Panel to 'Hartford Courant': Tsk-Tsk

By: E&P Staff By aggregating stories from other newspapers without giving them credit, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant engaged in "theft," the chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' (SPJ) Ethics Committee said in a statement released Wednesday.

In response to complaints from other Connecticut papers, Jeffrey S. Levine, the Courant's senior vice president and director of content, said the complaints were "legitimate" and that the aggregation process had been fixed to prevent further use of articles without credit.

SPJ's statement noted that its code of ethics "plainly exhorts newspapers and journalists, 'Never plagiarize.'" News organizations must always identify the source of stories they did not originate. "Failure to follow that guideline results in plagiarism, taking credit for someone else's work, as it did in this case."

"However it happened, the Courant violated fundamental standards," Andy Schotz, the chairman of SPJ's Ethics Committee, said in the statement. "This was theft."


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