News next: a journalism teacher's diary

March 6, 2010

Stop, thief!

Filed under: None — Bernard L. Stein @ 11:46 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Illustration by Johnny Grim available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

On Feb. 2, the Miami Herald published a story that began “The widow of slain Fort Lauderdale businessman Ben Novack Jr. — a suspect in his death — won control of his $10 million fortune Monday, despite relatives’ efforts to cut her off without a dime.”

The Novack marriage had been “tumultuous,” the story said, and to prove it, continued:

In 2002, Narcy Novack and two others tied Novack Jr. to a chair, threatened to kill him and removed money from his safe, according to the police report.

Later that same day, the Daily Beast, celebrity editor Tina Brown’s year-old e-zine, which claims a readership of nearly four million, published a story by its chief investigative reporter Gerald Posner, headlined “The Murder Mystery Rocking Miami.” It included this passage:

There is little doubt the Novacks had a volatile relationship. In 2002, 11 years into their marriage, Narcy and two others tied Ben Jr. to a chair, threatened to kill him and took money from his safe, according to the police report filed at the time.

Three days later, the on-line magazine Slate busted Posner, who resigned and declared he had “inadvertently, but repeatedly, violated my own high standards.”

Here’s how the Herald story continued:

“If I can’t have you, no one else will,” she told him, according to a divorce petition he filed and later dropped.

At the time, Narcy Novack told police the incident was part of a sex game.

She also showed them pornographic pictures of women with artificial limbs, claiming her husband had a fetish for them.

And here’s the Beast:

“If I can’t have you, no one else will,” she told him, according to a divorce petition Ben Jr. filed and then dropped.

Narcy told police investigators at the time that the entire episode was part of a sex game. And she also showed them porno snapshots of women with artificial limbs having sex, claiming her husband had a fetish for them.

Notice that Posner’s is not a word-for-word copy. It’s still plagiarism. He stole someone else’s reporting.

Rewriting or reorganizing the words or the facts taken from a Web site or publication is not sufficient. If you lift the ideas or reporting of someone without credit or attribution, you are stealing.

To be continued.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] award-winning writer Gerald Posner admitted that he had plagiarized a substantial part of his story about a sensational murder case from the Miami Herald, he blamed […]

    Pingback by Stop, thief, continued « News next: a journalism teacher's diary — March 6, 2010 @ 12:05 pm | Reply


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