Small Town Newspaper Intern Canned For Plagiarizing New York TimesS

An intern at the Colorado Springs Gazette has been fired for lifting passages from the New York Times and placing them in stories she wrote for the newspaper.

In an editorial posted to their website tonight, Gazette editor Jeff Thomas cited four separate occasions where Hailey Mac Arthur apparently lifted passages from past Times stories. Here's one of them:

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.

According to the bio on her blog we found through Google cache (she's set her blog to private and deleted her Facebook, LinkedIn and Google profiles), Hailey Mac Arthur is a second-year student at the University of Florida College of Journalism who has also interned at the Gainesville Sun. Back in April she conducted a hilariously salacious interview with Gay Talese over the phone and wrote about it on her blog. Here are some of the highlights:

I interviewed Gay Talese in my underwear.

It was a phone interview.

Perhaps the ultimate irony in all of this is that young Hailey Mac Arthur's writing seems to have some Maureen Dowd-ish qualities to it, no? Too bad Mac Arthur couldn't get away with concocting some sort of ridiculous "my friend told it all to me over the phone" excuse like Dowd so famously did back in May when she plagiarized TPM's Josh Marshall. If there's any justice in the world maybe the Times will give Hailey Mac Arthur her second chance. After all, everyone does deserve one.

A Breach of Trust [Colorado Springs Gazette]
pic via Hailey Mac Arthur's blog