Discussion: Mic Fires News Director Jared Keller After Plagiarism Allegations Surface

Discussion for article #233213

New media startup off to a bad startup.
Yawn.

“Sloppiness?” Seriously, that is what you call it? Dude, plagiarism on this level is not sloppiness.

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Props to Mic for wasting no time admitting the plagiarism was real, for axing the perpetrator, and for acknowledging their own fault in not catching it. This is the only kind of acceptable corporate apology – no euphemisms, no mealy-mouthed evasions. Just “He was wrong, he is gone, and we better watch out for this in the future.” As well as a grateful nod to Gawker for rooting out the problem. Good for you, Mic.

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While everyone else seems to be dislocating their elbows slapping their own backs over this thing, I have to question what sort of editorial structure let something like this go on so long and so much.
Where were the editors and the copy checkers, where were the people in composition, and most of all where were the other reporters and journalists that worked just feet away in the very same offices?
Did no one read what this man was doing?
Nobody?
The people in charge of “Mic” need to be the next ones let go.
Yes that’s right. They ought to be FIRED just like this guy was.
“Parting” is something you do with hair.
When so many people SCREW UP like this, Continually, Keller should NOT be the ONLY one clearing out his (cyber) desk.
We’re talking basic, almost “Middle school” journalism here. Proofreading would have caught most of this, for corn sake.
It just goes to prove that in the age of the “startup” you can have (and burn thru) carloads of money.
The really disturbing thing about this story is that NOBODY at “MIC” spent an extra dime or two on someone with enough diligence and basic “it’s my job” type integrity to ride herd over it all.
The “Cyber” dimension of all this makes not a wit of difference.
Each one of these sites ought to have and enforce exactly the same standards as a small town print newspaper. The fact is that all this money and computer assisted ego has helped breed a sloppiness which no one wants to confront, let alone clean up.
What we have here is the entire “cyber news” world sliding slowly toward the standards pf “Faux News” and the headline for this story is that nobody gave a good Gawd damn. Except of course when it makes a sensational “story” for someone else.That’s one hell of a lousy epitaph for the age where what was left of the Forth Estate met the computer.
Four lousy words: Nobody gave a damn.

Well, WTF? Who cares? Mike Barnicle found his happy home on Morning Joke, so I’m sure there’ll be a place for him there, too. And Phil Griffin won’t be apologizing for it, either.

What specific changes would you recommend to deter this problem in the future? I’ve worked on newspapers and magazines my entire life, and checking to see if inputted text is replicated from some another source has never been part of the copy-editing or fact-checking procedure. Most editors simply rely on the integrity of their writing staff to not steal other people’s words. If you recall the Jayson Blair controversy of 2003, even the New York Times with its multiple levels of editorial supervision was susceptible to unscrupulous reporters, and Blair’s fabrications did not become known until the San Antonio reporter whose work was plagiarized spoke up.

In the relatively rare case when plagiarism happens, and it becomes known, the real issue is how quickly a publication responds to the allegations. In this case, Mic responded almost instantaneously. Yet you want to excoriate the editorial staff for not already knowing? Please, I’m curious, are you speaking from experience or simply from petulance? What is your journalistic history, and based on that, in what way do you recommend changes be made to forestall any future thefts?

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That canned statement: what a crock.

That is entirely false. We’ll ignore the fact that most websites don’t even employ proofreaders, much less copy editors (witness, just as an example, the regular complaints about shoddy spelling and grammar at TPM), but even if proofreaders were on the payroll, how would they recognize stolen text? Proofreaders do not fact-check and are certainly not responsible for due diligence of new material. At what stage do you imagine proofreaders uncovering plagiarism?

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