This week's issue contains a defense of former Baltimore Sun columnist Michael Olesker by former Sun writer David Simon. Olesker was asked to retire earlier this month after City Paper's Gadi Dechter found that Olesker had lifted language from other writers at the Sun, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Simon argues that "most reporting -- unless it utilizes confidential sources or results from some investigative effort or special project -- has a short shelf life before it becomes nonproprietary," and says that if Olesker is a plagiarist, so are all journalists.
Journalist Maurice Possley claims that two of Fisher's columns about a Texas arson case were only slightly changed versions of articles he and Steve Mills wrote for the Chicago Tribune, according to New York Daily News gossip columnist Ben Widdicombe. The Long Island Press posted a response suggesting that Possley was seeking fame by exploiting Fisher's notoriety. The response concludes by thanking Possley "for creating the opportunity for us to document and remind ourselves about all the research Ms. Fisher puts into her columns."
Folio Weekly's Oct. 12 cover story accuses the Florida Times-Union -- and editorial page editor Lloyd Brown, in particular -- of publishing editorials with portions lifted directly from documents produced by right-wing groups. The article, penned by former Times-Union editorial writer Billee Bussard, has prompted the Jacksonville daily to launch an internal investigation, reports Editor & Publisher. Times-Union publisher Carl Cannon says, "I would never expect to find plagiarism at our paper, and I would be surprised if we did in this case." Brown tells reporter Joe Strupp: "I think we try to base our editorials on fact, and we have to get them from somewhere."
The copying didn't go undetected because The Village Voice Online has too many readers in Canada. A former teaching assistant called the Toronto Star to point out that the narrative structure and phrasing in Prithi Yelaja's story about U.S. Army deserter Brandon Hughey reminded him of what he'd read in the New York City alt-weekly two days earlier. Star ombudsman Don Sellar reports that nearly a third of the Star article was rooted in a Village Voice story by Alisa Solomon. The remorseful Yelaja called Solomon to apologize.