Florida Journalism Student Fired for Plagiarizing Stories from New York Times

Somewhere, Tim Tebow is shaking his fists with rage.  In a case of either sheer unethical boldness or unbelievable ignorance, a University of Florida journalism student has sullied the UF championship facade- plagiarizing parts of articles she wrote as an intern for a Colorado newspaper from none other than the New York freakin’ Times.  (As a friend just mentioned to me: “FYI, you are not even allowed to take the word ‘the’ from the New York- Messiah of National Newspapers- Times.”)

According to a Gawker report (sent my way by a distressed UF lover), Hailey Mac Arthur stole scraps from four NYT stories covering everything from sheep shearing to homelessness and spun them as her own for publication in The Colorado Springs Gazette.  In an editor’s note, Mac Arthur’s overseer at the Gazette labeled the shoddy journalism a true “breach of trust.”  Here’s an example he gave of her stolen work:

Mac Arthur story in Gazette, July 2, “Bicycle safety a hit-or-miss proposition in Springs”

From the vantage point of a bicycle, the city presents itself as a panorama passing by at a speed somewhere between the blur outside a car window and the plodding pace of walking.

Random New York Times story, Oct. 3, 2004, “Spin city

From the vantage point of a bike, the city presents itself as a savorable panorama passing by at a speed somewhere between the blur outside a car window and the plodding pace of walking.

Spot the similarities?  Gawker is the first and certainly won’t be the last to make the Mac Arthur-Maureen Dowd comparison.  (For those stuck on no-journalism-allowed-island recently, Dowd faced scrutiny in May for penning a column that contained an eerily similar passage to a piece posted on a popular blog.)

Here’s Gawker‘s take: “Perhaps the ultimate irony in all of this is that young Hailey Mac Arthur’s writing seems to have some Maureen Dowd-ish qualities to it, no? Too bad Mac Arthur couldn’t get away with concocting some sort of ridiculous ‘my friend told it all to me over the phone’ excuse like Dowd so famously did back in May when she plagiarized TPM’s Josh Marshall. If there’s any justice in the world maybe the Times will give Hailey Mac Arthur her second chance. After all, everyone does deserve one.”

According to the bio on Mac Arthur’s blog, (a cached version, since, as Gawker confirmed, she’s privatized the blog and erased her profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn) she’s preparing for a trip to Brazil in the fall as part of a UF advanced journalism practicum.  Interesting side question: Should a student’s j-misdeeds as an intern (while representing the university) impact her class standing or enrollment in any way???

Comments
5 Responses to “Florida Journalism Student Fired for Plagiarizing Stories from New York Times”
  1. 02UFgrad says:

    “Should a student’s j-misdeeds as an intern (while representing the university) impact her class standing or enrollment in any way???”

    Heck yes!

  2. All-good-things-journo lover says:

    Absolutely this should impact her class standing. This was a major faux pas. And I am being nice.

    I mean, Hailey, dear, what in holy-Stephen-Glass-Jayson-Blair-plagiarism hell were you thinking pulling even one word from the New York freaking Times and claiming it as your own?

    Shame on her. And shame on the UF journalism program if they do not give her the boot.

    I can’t write more about this, or I might break the Internet.

  3. at least she recognized good journalism

  4. Danielle says:

    As a current student at UF’s College of Journalism and Communications, I have to say that I find Mac Arthur’s actions to be a disgrace. By plagiarizing so blatantly, and on more than one occasion, she has hurt not only herself, but the prestige of the college– something she brags about in her blog.

    If my understanding of our rules is correct, she will be removed from her major, probably the college, and the university will investigate matters further.

    What I’m curious about are the opinions of my instructors, who take plagiarism, ethics, and basic honesty all very seriously. A friend of mine who works for the Independent Florida Alligator told me they will run an article with school officials’ opinions tomorrow.

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