Globe and Mail Editor, John Stackhouse, sent this memo out to staff tonight (and published it on the newspaper website):

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"From: Stackhouse, John
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 8:53 PM
Subject: Journalistic standards

Over the past several days, serious allegations have been raised about the work of one of our columnists, Margaret Wente. Many of the concerns centre around a July 2009 column, and similarities in quotes in that work to those in a column already published in another newspaper.

The journalism in this instance did not meet the standards of The Globe and Mail, in terms of sourcing, use of quotation marks and reasonable credit for the work of others. Even in the spirit of column writing, which allows for some latitude in attribution and expression, this work was not in accordance with our code of conduct, and is unacceptable.

I spoke with the writer last evening, and again today, about these matters, and others that were brought into question, and have taken appropriate action. As in all disciplinary cases at the Globe, the details remain a private matter between employer and employee. I will continue to defend her right to free expression.

We will continue to examine our journalistic practices and standards. As a first step, the  Publisher and I agreed today that the Public Editor position should be made fully autonomous from the newsroom, and report directly to him. That change takes effect immediately.

If anyone has questions or concerns about our conduct of journalism,  please don't hesitate to contact me or Public Editor Sylvia Stead.

John"
 

And Wente, in a column published in  Tuesday’s Globe is quoted as explained  " there was no attempt to deceive…not to pass off other people's words or ideas as my own." She was emphatic: "I'm far from perfect. I make mistakes. But I'm not a serial plagiarist." Wente continued, “Journalists know they’re under the microscope. If you appropriate other people’s work, you’re going to get nailed. Even so, sometimes we slip up. That isn’t an excuse. It’s just the way it is.”"