Sept. 16, 2013
Last week, The Scribe published an article in the Sports section about the men’s cross country team that contained fabricated interviews and recycled quotes from interviews conducted during the spring 2013 semester.
An official in the athletics department contacted The Scribe after speaking with the cross country coach and another player quoted in the piece. Both sources indicated they had not been interviewed for the Sept. 9 article.
Within 24 hours, senior editors met with the reporter responsible for the article. He admitted he had not interviewed the contacts for this semester’s story but instead used quotes from last spring. He was immediately let go from the staff.
When confronted, the reporter recognized that his actions failed to meet the journalistic standards accepted by those employed at the newspaper.
But, when writing the story, he said he didn’t think it was a problem to reuse quotes without notice as stories about sports teams are usually very similar.
While the reporter, who worked at The Scribe since fall 2012, said it was the first time he had recycled quotes for a news story, the situation brought to light a similar attempt last semester. It was flagged by an editor, perceived as an accident, addressed and corrected before print.
Similar to the school’s official policy on plagiarism, The Scribe maintains a zero-tolerance policy on issues involving plagiarism or fabrication.
Every member of The Scribe is expected to act professionally and in line with the journalism ethics necessary to maintain the newspaper’s credibility as a journalistic entity.
That said, though certain processes remain in place to prevent such an occurrence, should something be published that fails to uphold these standards, we rely on our readers to bring it to our attention so that it can be addressed and corrected.
And although such cases are an embarrassment to the newspaper, the school and student journalism in general, they serve as an opportunity learn, grow and communicate the standards that we set and accept for ourselves.
Unfortunately, fabrication can and does happen in newspapers – student and otherwise. The Scribe has a multi-step editing process to prevent dubious and false information from being published.
But, on the occasion that it does happen, The Scribe is willing to run corrections for factual inaccuracies and address the problem to avoid it from repeating.
Most often, the mistakes made are unintentional and stem from a misunderstanding between a reporter and source.
Without a journalism program on campus, The Scribe trains its staff and urges reporters to be respectful and specific while interviewing and writing.
Especially as the UCCS campus expands, we want to maintain healthy relationships with every student, staff and faculty member interviewed.
The Scribe continues to be committed to writing accurate stories about the UCCS community and welcomes feedback to attain this goal every issue.