Recycling in The Newsroom

Plagiarism at two major dailies raises anew the issue of a newspaper's implicit contract with its readers

Every schoolchild is taught the impropriety of claiming credit for someone else's work. But in adult life, the rules on plagiarism are often hazily understood, even by those whose trade is to point the finger. Within a six-day span this month, the nation's two leading dailies, the New York Times and the Washington Post, confessed to plagiarizing stories from rival papers and disciplined the guilty reporters, while the journalism school at Boston University replaced its dean, H. Joachim Maitre, after he lifted much of his commencement speech from an obscure journal.

Officials at all three institutions assured the public that these...

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