I was hoping I would never have to write a letter of this nature. But just as we work to hold others accountable, we must do the same for ourselves in the newsroom.
Recently, it has come to my attention that a staff member of The PHOENIX has plagiarized content from other publications — ranging from DJ Booth to The New York Times — and used it in PHOENIX articles. To date, we have found and removed 14 articles dating back to December 2016 that bared the signs of plagiarism. That staff member is no longer employed by The PHOENIX.
In my time spent with the paper, I’ve seen mistakes, but never of this magnitude. Our intention above all is to always be truthful and honest in our work, and this offense shows flagrant disregard for everything The PHOENIX stands for.
We understand the wide scope of hurt and damage that plagiarism causes, both to those whose careful work has been stolen, but also to the reputation of the publication guilty of such an affront. And by damaging our reputation, we in turn hurt our invaluable relationship with our readers, who we strive to serve in the first place.
As a newspaper, we take this offense incredibly seriously, and I am embarrassed by this behavior by one of our staff members. You can be sure that The PHOENIX editing process is being thoroughly re-examined to avoid this occurring in the future.
I am sorry to the publications whose content was copied. I am sorry to any writers whose hard work was marred by the staff member’s actions and by our inability to root out the issue sooner. And I am sorry to you, readers, that The PHOENIX has unintentionally misled you and given you reason to distrust our work.
But as we work to build back up our credibility and reputation, please know that this behavior does not represent who we are.
Plagiarism is an offense The PHOENIX — and I personally — will absolutely not stand for. We have messed up, but we will continue to work toward producing content based on our innate values: truth, accountability and transparency. We are examining the faults in our editing process that allowed this failure to continue for so long. We know it won’t be easy gaining our readers’ trust back, but we will never stop trying.
I hope you all will be able to move forward with us to see that we can — and will — rise above this.