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Washington Post Apologizes For 'Substantial' Plagiarism In Two Stories

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/16/11 06:05 PM ET Updated: 05/31/11 03:28 PM ET

Washington Post

UPDATE, 3/17: The Washington Post suspended Sari Horwitz—who has been with the paper for 27 years and won two Pulitzer Prizes—for three months as punishment for her plagiarism of two stories from the Arizona Republic, the Post announced Wednesday night.

Reporters who are discovered having plagiarized are often fired, but the Post's editor, Marcus Brauchli, told Post reporter Paul Farhi that, because these were the only instances of plagiarism the paper could find in Horwitz's work, she was being given a lesser punishment. “We [took] action that we think is appropriately severe and reflects the seriousness with which we view this transgression,” Brauchli said.

Horwitz—who lifted material from two separate stories about Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in the Arizona shooting—issued a statement as well.

“I am deeply sorry. To our readers, my friends and colleagues, my editors, and to the paper I love, I want to apologize. Under the pressure of tight deadlines, I did something I have never done in my entire career. I used another newspaper’s work as if it were my own. It was wrong. It was inexcusable. And it is one of the cardinal sins in journalism. I apologize to the Arizona Republic and its reporters and editors. I accept the punishment that The Washington Post has given to me. And I am grateful the paper will allow me to return. I hope to come back a better journalist and a better person.”

ORIGINAL POST: The Washington Post revealed on Wednesday that two of its articles about the Arizona shooting were plagiarized from the Arizona Republic newspaper.

In an editor's note apologizing for the plagiarism, the Post said that the articles--by reporter Sari Horwitz, who has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes--"contained substantial material that was borrowed and duplicated, without attribution," from the Republic.

One article, published on March 4, lifted two paragraphs from the Republic's story about the criminal charges against alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner.

The next article, published on March 10, was even more plagiarized from the Arizona paper. The Post said that 10 out of the 15 paragraphs of the Republic story were lifted. The paper did not identify Horwitz by name, but linked to both stories, which contained her byline.

According to Yahoo News, the editor of the Republic contacted the Post, alerting them to the plagiarism. The Post did not say in the note what action it had taken against Horwitz, though it said to Yahoo's Michael Calderone that the action was "immediate, severe, and appropriate."

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