According to 2007 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado Springs is home to more than 376,000 people, making it the 47th most populous community in these United States. Apparently, though, the folks at Gawker.com aren't especially impressed by its size and scope. Why else would they headline a story about acts of plagiarism allegedly committed by Colorado Springs Gazette intern Hailey Mac Arthur, "Small Town Newspaper Intern Canned For Plagiarizing New York Times"?
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The Gawker piece quotes from a piece by Gazette editor Jeff Thomas describing Mac Arthur's actions as "a breach of trust." Here are some examples of her accused lifts:
Gazette, June 6: It's time for Colorado's sheep to get a trim
With a little persuasion, Bob Schroth pulled the sheep onto its back and pinned it between his legs. Then, reaching for his clippers, he went to work.
NY Times, April 26, 1987: New Zealanders thrive on U.S. sheep shearing
With a heave, John Burt pulled the sheep on its back and pinned it between his legs. Then, reaching for his clippers, he went to work.
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.
NY Times, 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.
Gazette, July 2: Grief over pregnant mother's death overwhelms family
The collision of life and death plays out in this nondescript home at the end of the cul-de-sac in a quiet northeast Colorado Springs neighborhood. King stares blankly. ... Mike King stands up, carrying the weight of a man tossed into a cascade of disbelief, despair and depression.
. . . The crushing weight of death descended upon her family, her friends, the entire second floor of Memorial Hospital North.
NY Times, Feb. 18, 2007: Generations: A daughter's death, and a quest for answers
The collision of life and death tossed me and those close to me into a cascade of disbelief, fear, anger, confusion and grief.
. . . At that moment, as the crushing weight of death descended upon all of us, I promised my sweet daughter that I would seek justice for this tragedy. I would find the answers, hold people accountable.
Gazette, July 6: Few factors set homeless apart from the fortunate
Defining homelessness is politically charged these days. A word used 20 years ago to evoke compassion for the poor is increasingly accepted as shorthand for a grab bag of undesirables - the deranged, disheveled or destitute. Yet the same word applies to the largely unseen women and children who make up more than a third of the homeless in Colorado Springs.
. . . The homeless usually bear their losses in silence, their misfortune unreported and their offenders unknown.
NY Times, Dec. 5, 1999: Labeling the homeless, in compassion and contempt
Defining homelessness is politically charged in New York these days. A word used 20 years ago to evoke compassion for the poor is increasingly accepted as shorthand for a grab bag of undesirables, the deranged, disheveled or destitute. Yet the same word applies to the largely unseen women and children who make up almost two-thirds of homeless shelter residents in New York City.
NY Times, June 29, 2009: Constant fear and mob rule in South Africa slum
In Diepsloot, people usually bear their losses in silence, their misfortune unreported and their offenders unknown.
As Thomas points out at the conclusion of his note, "Every day, tens of thousands of citizens come to The Gazette and gazette.com in good faith, expecting from us in return that we will report the news as accurately, completely and originally as possible." Those numbers may not wow the Gawker crowd, but they remain substantial, more than justifying the seriousness of Thomas' tone, as well as his decision to lay bare this particular journalistic violation.