Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Plagiarism at The Miami Student requires action and reflection as we move forward

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

This week, it was brought to The Miami Student staff's attention by an outside reporter that one of our editors plagiarized an article published in Tuesday's paper.

Further investigation revealed our community editor plagiarized numerous pieces over the course of this semester.

The Editorial Board is personally shocked and hurt by the individual's offense, but our concern now has turned to our audience, the community we aim to serve.

On behalf of the entire staff, we would like to express our deepest apologies. Your trust depends on our credibility, on our ability to seek the truth and present it in a balanced manner. That trust has been shaken.

We also want to apologize to the individuals whose work was stolen. We don't want to take credit for the stories in which you put time and effort, those that we did not.

While the editor's actions were her own, and only her own, the mistakes of the individual reflect on the group as a whole.

The Miami Student staff devotes itself to putting in all the work necessary to keep the community informed. This responsibility was placed in our care and we failed to catch the editor's actions early on. While we cannot undo the mistakes of one, we must work to right these wrongs.

The responsible editor was promptly fired and list of plagiarized articles has been provided on the front page of today's issue.

We don't take this situation lightly. We may be a student-run, university newspaper, but we hold ourselves to high standards and strive to provide the community with the best service possible.

Beyond concerns regarding our readers' trust in the paper, the news has us analyzing the action itself, looking at why it happened in the first place. In college and in life, cheating - in this case plagiarism - can seem like the easy path. It can become a tempting answer to life's problems. If you give into the temptation: you're being deceived. The list of consequences is evidence of this. Not only are you risking punishment and hurting another in the process, you are also failing to gain intellectually from the experience of doing the work, creating something of your own. The consequences outweigh the benefits. In life, and especially in journalism, there is no excuse.

We are taught ethics and honesty from an early age, and in journalism, it must be our highest priority. Isn't that the point of what we do? To serve and better the community? We are failing in that pursuit if we're lying to our audience, and we're lying to ourselves if we're justifying anything less.

As a multi-platform news source, and as individuals with hearts for the power of journalism, this is not an incident that can be brushed aside as a mistake or simply bad judgment.

The Miami Student isn't a class, and there isn't a professor looking over our shoulder, but without upholding our own code of ethics, we are nothing. We must be able to trust one another in order to get the job done, but we must also know when to question each other. And, in this case, question the group as a whole with the aim of preventing similar actions in the future.

The Miami Student staff will continue to report accurately, fairly and be the watchdog of Miami University. But, now more than ever, we have learned the importance of being the watchdog of each other.