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Washington Post sorry for plagiarized material

Washington Post sorry for plagiarized material

March 17th, 2011 in News

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Post apologized Wednesday for publishing material that was "borrowed and duplicated" from The Arizona Republic newspaper and said it has suspended the reporter responsible.

In an editor's note on its website, The Post says the information that was plagiarized was about the indictment of the man accused of killing several people in a shooting that also injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

"Two articles published by The Post online and in its print editions earlier this month contained substantial material that was borrowed and duplicated, without attribution, from The Arizona Republic newspaper," the note said.

In one article, two paragraphs about Jared Lee Loughner's indictment were copied. In the other, the information "was substantially drawn" from the Arizona story, The Post said.

The Post's bylined articles were written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sari Horwitz.

Republic staffers discovered the similarities between the articles, The Republic wrote on its website. Randy Lovely, senior vice president/news and audience development for Republic Media, then notified Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli.

Brauchli said in a statement that "The Post has taken immediate, severe, and appropriate action with regard to Ms. Horwitz." A Post article on its website said she has been suspended for three months.

The newspaper forwarded a statement from Horwitz in which the reporter apologized for "one of the cardinal sins in journalism." She also said, "I am grateful the paper will allow me to return. I hope to come back a better journalist and a better person."

The Post statement said Horwitz acknowledged she took material from The Republic without attribution. The Post called Horwitz's actions "inconsistent with the reporting she has done for The Post for many, many years." Horwitz called her actions "inexcusable."

Horwitz did not immediately return a voicemail seeking further comment left for her by The Associated Press at a listed home number.

The Post said Horwitz is one of its most decorated reporters. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize with her colleague Scott Higham in 2002 for a series about the deaths of foster children under the care of the District's child-welfare agencies.

The newspaper said it had reviewed Horwitz's work published this year and found no other similar instances.

Horwitz, a journalist for nearly 30 years, said in her statement that "Under the pressure of tight deadlines, I did something I have never done in my entire career. I used another newspaper's work as if it were my own."

She apologized to her colleagues and The Republic.

Lovely said on The Republic's website, "The Post was quick to act on our suspicions, and I appreciate how they have approached this difficult situation."

In 1981, Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke surrendered her Pulitzer Prize after admitting she had fabricated stories.