Plagiarism Equals Expulsion for Once Mighty Mac Arthur

The Independent Florida Alligator has verified it, with the help of UF’s journalism department chair: If confirmed, UF rising junior Hailey Mac Arthur’s NYT’s love-fest/plagiarism will result in her expulsion from the College of Journalism and Communications.  (What about from the university or the journalism field in general or from America or Second Life or the Third World???)

A recent Facebook status update from the College of Journalism and Communications Dean John Wright: “One thing is certain. Plagiarism will not be tolerated at the College of Journalism and Communications.”  (By the way, if Wright also tweets, he is officially nominated for “The Coolest Dean … Ever Award.”)

Students commenting on a UF media class blog had this to say:

“I’m pissed, too! I worked so hard to get into UF because it is one of the best J-schools in the country! Now, what would have gotten my resume put on top of the pile (my hard earned effing degree) will just invoke a wary glance as it gets tossed in the ‘maybe’ pile. This girl lied to keep herself in a position she clearly wasn’t qualified for– if you can’t stand the heat (ie: write your own sh*t), stay out of the newsroom.”

“[T]his is really ridiculous why would she do blatant dumbass thing like that i mean plagiarism is messed up any way you slice it but its the ny times man balls to that!”

“I also believe that Hailey did a very stupid thing by thinking she could get away with plagiarizing in a daily read newspaper. On the other hand, I do not think that it will cause everyone to think that now every journalism student at UF does the same thing and cause job problems. It was also just in the paper today that a UF student shot and killed someone, that does not mean that now everyone looks down on UF because we are murderers. I believe it is just a minor set back and it will be forgotten shortly.”

My take: Let’s all be chill for a minute.  The girl got caught.  She’s being (quite fairly) excoriated across the Web, which is of course not so fun in the age of the blogosphere.  It looks like she’s also rightly heading for expulsion-town, showing there is some justice left in J-ville.  Mighty Mac Arthur has struck out, and she will (and SHOULD) be shut out from any future jobs requiring truth and ethics.  The closest she will ever get to a New York Times job is delivering them.  She is also very young, the part that gives me pause prior to simply wanting to scream at her.  Yes, her blog bio hints at uber-narcissism (Hi, I’m an award-winning journalist…) and with a few internships and other gigs under her belt this was no babe in the woods.  But she is still (or soon, was) a student. Hopefully she has learned a lesson that will stay with her forever (sort of like the Google results for searches of her name that will forever be beyond embarassing).  In the meantime, Alligator peeps, you better start checking the archives.  Plagiarists tend to be serial creeps.

11 Responses to “Plagiarism Equals Expulsion for Once Mighty Mac Arthur”
  1. Daniel says:

    A bit harsh, imo.

  2. Dan Reimold says:

    Good to hear from you. OK, absolutely, I respect that. Here’s my thoughts: I think the key is that the individual is a legal adult, a full-fledged journalism student at one of the top schools of its kind in the world, an individual with previous internship experience, and someone whose plagiarism shows classic signs of premeditation (i.e. this was not a sloppy one-time mistake by a young person). In a way, her experience and previous excellence bury her. You cannot claim “award-winning journalist” status (as she does in the bio of her personal blog) and then not own up to a screw-up of this magnitude, accidental or not. I mention my pause in totally condemning due to her relative youth, but overall I think if she’s cunning enough to want to beat the system, she needs to accept the reality of what happens when you’re caught. What do you think???

  3. Not Mac Arthur says:

    UF will get a nice little scar from this but the real punch in the face will be to the journalism students.

    If UF develops a culture that allows students to take articles and reword them, then you should realize that the journalism that’s going on is just a rehashing of other people’s content.

    To many employers, this is the vision that they will have of UF’s journalism program.

    This type of journalism destroys context and leads to reporting like what you see on the Rush Limbaugh show and Fox News.

  4. Daniel says:

    I certainly think she needs to own up to what she did, but I don’t believe she deserves a public hazing. There are plenty more people who do unethical things in college and don’t get caught. It’s not the end of the world.

  5. MEINUSA says:

    This is so a Colorado resident I must tell you its such a joke that former “Professor” Ward Churchill can plagiarise and then sue when he gets fired from the college he was teaching in but this dumb student who was an unpaid intern screws up in a summer job and is not only fired from the newspaper but may get kicked out of the school .. a bit of overkill I think! …. well I guess its ok .. maybe we need to fire all the reporters .. they are all dishonest and biased, so why not … Honest journalisim is dead!

  6. Her fault only says:

    I completely disagree with Not Mac Arthur — UF does not, by any stretch of the imagination, condone plagiarism. I mean, they immediately kicked her out!

    It doesn’t take a journalism degree to know you can’t copy someone else’s words, and this idiot’s actions shouldn’t reflect on the other journalism students.

    Also you say “This type of journalism destroys context and leads to reporting like what you see on the Rush Limbaugh show and Fox News.”

    First of all, Rush is opinion, I doubt he plagiarizes because there’s no one saying the same crazy things he is, and you’ve drawn a really faulty causal relationship.

    In the end, this girl will never work as a reporter again and other UF students will be able to say they were shocked and disgusted by her actions.

    (btw I graduated from a different journalism school, not UF, and I probably compete with UF students for the same internships).

  7. cooper says:

    I’m sure they learn in journalism school thatparaphrasing is still plagiarism if you don’t cite the source. Most of us learned it in 5th grade.

    Probably been stealing the work of others since elementary school. How embarrassing that, according to her former cached profile, sadly posted all over the web, she touted herself as an “award winning journalist”, chosen for “Latin America in Words and Pictures” — “an upper-level reporting course taught by a Pulitzer Prize winner in which the top 12 students in the college are selected for entrance”. She sure fooled them, doesn’t say much for the journalism school.

    She had a funny interview with Gay Talese at her blog, in retrospect it is also probably made up or lifted.

    Rush opines on the news, that is what a pundit does, though many in this country think that the pundits they see are journalists, and some may have been at one time or may periodically still be, the cable shows are basically editorializing the news that journalist in the field are reporting. The ethical standards are different for a pundit and a reporter.

    She needed to be fired, the public hazing comes with the times…technology, the internet and so on.

    Life will go on.

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  2. […] In a recent post detailing a UF student’s unfortunate spate of plagiarism, I mentioned being suitably impressed that Wright communicated his initial reaction, in part, through a status update on his Facebook account.  As I stated at the time, in my humble opinion, “[I]f Wright also tweets, he is officially nominated for “The Coolest Dean … Ever Award.’” […]

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