An article in the March 8 edition of The B-Side, The Michigan Daily’s weekly arts supplement, (“Ten Thousand Villages unites art, culture and philanthropy in one storefront”) contained material that was plagiarized. The article, which was about a fair-trade store on Main Street, contained several passages that were copied directly from the Wikipedia entry on fair-trade products and from the store’s website.
The plagiarism was discovered after an arts editor editing another one of the reporter’s articles found passages that were also taken verbatim from other websites. A thorough search of the reporter’s previous work revealed no other instances of plagiarism.
The writer in question has been dismissed, and The Michigan Daily no longer stands behind the plagiarized article.
This is an unacceptable violation of this newspaper’s core principles, and corrective actions will be taken. Since January, when it was discovered that a former Daily columnist’s work didn’t meet our paper’s ethical standards, we’ve stepped up our safeguards against plagiarism.
We will continue to work to enhance those safeguards.
This semester, we’ve expanded the role of our copy desk. Our copy editors now read all news and opinion articles and any arts articles in the B-Side. All staffers must also now submit details about any research they conducted for their piece when they turn in their articles.
Until now, these steps had proven successful, as we’ve caught a handful of questionable pieces before they’ve gone to print. The Ten Thousand Villages story slipped through the cracks. There are no excuses: This was an egregious error and we, as Daily editors, take full blame.
Moving forward, we will now require plagiarism checks on all articles before they go to print. The arts section already does this in its day-to-day editing process, and we will require all other sections to follow suit.
Plagiarism will never be completely preventable, but we can — and will — do better to ensure that you can trust the content you see every day in print and online as original work.