Post Ombuds: Elizabeth Flock Rewrote Two Paragraphs from Discovery, Post Bloggers Face Career Dead-End
Flock tells Pexton that she was expected to get 1-2 million hits a month on the Post’s BlogPost aggregator, which, if true, would be an unrealistically demanding goal. There are barely any guidelines on proper aggregation at the Post, according to Pexton, and bloggers aren’t sure if they’ll ever get to be reporters with their own beats.
Here’s Pexton’s account of Flock’s lifting from a Discovery News story, which lead to her resignation two weeks ago:
Flock says that in haste she read about 10 stories about Mars life, including some of the research papers, and forgot to credit and link to the originator of the story, Discovery News. It appears that she copied, pasted and slightly rewrote two paragraphs from the Discovery story. Plagiarism perhaps, but also a perpetual danger in aggregated stories.
This is a new development, because before, the cached version only revealed that Flock had taken one paragraph.
Pexton says that the Post will make career prospects less dismal for remaining bloggers by offering them more training in street reporting.
Everybody’s very itchy not to call this plagiarism. The Breitbart people, in a story on Flock, noticed that the AFP’s original story on it said that Flock committed plagiarism, but in a revised version of the same story later, AFP dropped “plagiarism.”
The thrust of the Breitbart take on this is that, since Flock didn’t resign after her Mitt Romney-KKK screw-up, but did after lifting from Discovery, the Post doesn’t take factual errors about Republicans as seriously as it does taking from other news outlets.
I think that’s a deliberately obtuse look at this. Flock’s resignation was clearly a culmination of both events, not just the most recent one.