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Top French journo prof 'ripped off' other media

Louise Nordström · 17 Nov 2014, 17:27

Published: 17 Nov 2014 17:27 GMT+01:00

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The executive dean of the journalism school linked to the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris has been forced to take a leave of absence after the media critic website Arrêt sur Images accused her of repeatedly copying full and partial word-by-word passages of text from other news outlets and using them in her own columns.

Some of those columns appeared on the Huffington Post news website and radio show France Culture and were found after Arrêt sur Images ran a number of her columns through a piece of software called Plagiarism Checker.

In a claim on its website, Arrêt sur Images described the journalist as a “serial copy-paster” who rarely cited the sources she got her material from.

“Out of almost half of her 20 columns, at least one sentence (and more often two or three sentences) was reproduced in the same way as an earlier source,” Arrêt sur Images said, accusing her of stealing material from its own journalists as well as from reporters working at radio station RTL, investigative website Mediapart and newspaper Le Monde.

In an internal email cited by AFP, the school’s dean Bruno Patino wrote to staff and students that “plagiarism is a very serious matter in journalism”.

“The school, which teaches ethics, cannot take such things lightly,” adding that the teacher has since taken a temporary leave from her duties pending an investigation into the matter.

Contacted by Arrêt des Images, the teacher was said to distance herself from “all dishonesty”, saying “I forget to cite some articles (sometimes), but it’s never done voluntarily and I correct it whenever there is a problem”.

Meanwhile, students studying at the journalism school where the teacher works are obliged to sign a code of ethics where they “do not plagiarize, do not present other people's thoughts as their own, and clearly quote fellow journalists when they use a text or even a few words from a text."

AFP said the school also uses software for student essays and texts to detect any cases of plagiarism.   

Louise Nordström (news.france@thelocal.com)

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