Toronto Star publishes apology for unattributed material taken from The Globe and Mail

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The Toronto Star has edited an online version of a business article and published an apology after it found parts of the article had been taken from an earlier report by The Globe and Mail without attribution.

An apology appeared on the Star’s correction page late Friday afternoon and a January 4 article by business reporter Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew on Entertainment One’s takeover of Alliance Films now has the following appended to it:

Note: This article was edited from a previous version that included unattributed material from an earlier  Globe and Mail report. The Star's policy manual states that the Star does not present other media's reporting as its own or publish unattributed material from other sources. The Star apologizes for this lapse in its standards.

The Globe and Mail report from which the unattributed material came was written by media reporter Steve Ladurantaye.

Two paragraphs (not consecutive) from Ladurantaye’s story appear in a similar vein and structure in the pre-edited Achara-Tom Yew story. A comparison of the passages in question is below:

The Globe and Mail: The company will have a combined library of more than 23,000 films including megahits such as the Twilight series, Looper, Pulp Fiction, The King’s Speech and The Hunger Games. 

Toronto Star: Its combined library will include more than 23,000 films, including the blockbuster Twilight series, Pulp Fiction, The King’s Speech and The Hunger Games.

And:

The Globe and Mail:  Its parent company Alliance Atlantis Communications was acquired by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 2007, but was orphaned when Goldman sold the partnership’s broadcasting properties to Shaw Communications Inc. following CanWest’s bankruptcy.

Toronto Star: It was previously owned by Alliance Atlantis Communications, which was acquired by Goldman and CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 2007. But Alliance became an orphan when Goldman sold the partnership’s broadcasting properties to Shaw Communications Inc. following CanWest’s bankruptcy.

The Star’s edits on the story removed the first paragraph and the second now reads:

It was previously owned by Alliance Atlantis Communications, which was acquired by Goldman and CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 2007. Goldman later sold the partnership’s broadcasting properties to Shaw Communications Inc. following CanWest’s bankruptcy.

The Star’s policy manual states that “plagiarism — the unattributed use of material from another published source — is grounds for discipline or dismissal.”

I have reached out to the Star for comment and regarding the discipline levied and to Achara-Tom Yew about how this happened. I will update when I receive their respective responses. 

Comments

The Star's editor and the writer owe readers a timely and full explanation. Plagiarism is among the most serious threats to a newspaper's credibility.

Looks like there still are a few rewrite guys hanging around, eh?  Again, there's been a sea change in Society and not everyone has caught up.  At least some of us, when we used to rewrite an article, would actually rewrite the facts, which are not in dispute in any case.

I'd like to come back to the web in a hundred years to see how many news sites there are, and how everyone refrains from copying everyone else's facts. . . .

Did Madhavi-Acharya also involved in a plagiarism charge many years ago?

Eugene Correia

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