The Globe and Mail’s public editor Sylvia Stead has responded to questions of plagiarism by Margaret Wente that were raised after a Media Culpa blog post detailing instances where the high-profile columnist supposedly failed to properly attribute prose and quotations the became widely circulated.


The Globe and Mail’s public editor Sylvia Stead has responded to questions of plagiarism by Margaret Wente that were raised after a Media Culpa blog post detailing instances where the high-profile columnist supposedly failed to attribute properly became widely circulated.

After investigating the complaints, speaking with Wente, and reading all but one of the source documents (she had to order it) referenced by Media Culpa blogger Carol Wainio, Stead concluded: “there appears to be some truth to the accusations but not on every charge.”

As a result, The Globe has issued an Editor’s Note on the column in question – a July 2009 piece titled “Enviro-romanticism is hurting Africa,” that Wente wrote based on Professor Robert Paarlberg’s book, Starving for Science.

The note reads: “Editor’s Note: This column contains views and statements by Professor Robert Paarlberg which are paraphrased and not always clearly identified.”

While Stead’s column focuses on the specifics of the column that Media Culpa’s Sept. 18 post breaks down, Wainio has been writing about Wente’s work since May 2011 and has pointed out other instances where she feels Wente made mistakes or failed to attribute properly. When asked by J-Source if The Globe had looked into the other incidences that Media Culpa has pointed out over the last 18 months as well, Stead said there had been Editor's Notes issued in the past and directed us to the second last paragraph of her column:


The Globe and Mail investigates all complaints, although sometimes it takes a little time to properly look into these matters,” Stead writes. “We have looked into all of the complaints raised by the anonymous blogger regarding Ms. Wente and other writers at The Globe and Mail and made corrections or clarifications where information was incorrect or unclear.”

Wente did not respond to J-Source's requests for comment.

Read Stead's explanation in full as well as Wente's response over on The Globe's website

Related story: Media Culpa blog raises questions of plagiarism by Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente