Washington Post journalist quits over plagiarism

Agence France-Presse
A Washington Post journalist resigned after posting information that appears to be plagiarized

WASHINGTON, United States of America – A Washington Post journalist resigned after posting information that appears to be plagiarized and after being reprimanded for “a significant ethical lapse,” two US media monitors reported Monday.

Blogger Jim Romanesko and Andrew Beaujon at the Poynter Institute reported that Post journalist Elizabeth Flock resigned on Friday after a searing editor’s note was posted atop one of her stories.

It was the second time in 4 months that she got such a note, the journalists reported.

The most recent editor’s note, dated April 13, states that an earlier version of a Flock story “made inappropriate, extensive use of an original report by Discovery News and also failed to credit that news organization as the primary source for the blog post.

“This was a significant ethical lapse and not in keeping with our journalistic standards,” the note read.

In December, Flock received a similar editor’s note on her work after a posting titled “Mitt Romney is using a KKK (Ku Klux Klan) slogan in his speeches.” The mistake was even the subject of a column by the newspaper ombudsman.

“This posting contains multiple, serious factual errors that undermine its premise,” read part of the editor’s note. “Mitt Romney is not using ‘Keep America American,’ which was once a KKK slogan, as a catchphrase in stump speeches, as the posting and headline stated.”

Flock worked at the BlogPost, which describes itself as the newspaper’s “home for breaking news and conversation.”

Flock told Poynter in a phone call that she “was in no way pressured to resign. There was no indication I was going to be fired.”

Contacted by AFP, Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti in a brief e-mail: “We do not comment on personnel issues.” – Agence France-Presse