The Sunday Star-Times did a large and prominent story on Noelle McCarthy and raised issues about whether some of her verbal on air essays were too similiar to articles from various European newspapers.
I’m possibly somewhat biased on this issue as the GPS system in my car is called Noelle, but I think David Cohen’s blog on this issue is very apt:
we feel like offering a bit of solidarity towards Noelle McCarthy over the media treatment she received this past weekend, when a small number of her articles and columns were deemed of sufficiently compelling interest by the Sunday Star-Times to warrant a manifestly overlong story on their purported similarities with a number of previously published British pieces.
Despite having spent the better part of a week poring over McCarthy’s efforts, reporter Kim Knight came up with nothing more earth-shattering than the fact that McCarthy reads fairly widely when it comes to British papers, and yes, she had probably been a bit naughty in riffing a little too hard on a few of their recent reports. But did that pretty inconsequential discovery justify anything more than a small aside in a media column?
Cohen has written a lot on plagiarism:
As it happens, we’ve spent some effort in the past looking at real plagiarism scandals — you know, the ones involving entire chapters of books, existing scholarly essays and questions of wholesale academic integrity — and we’ve also ribbed McCarthy from time to time over other matters.
And David has shown, at the link he provides, that he has and will ping McCarthy when she deserves it. He also pings me often when I deserve it 🙂
Bus his conclusion here:
Involving as it does just a few words and the odd phrase here and there, this latest one simply doesn’t make the serious cut. Especially not in a country where slapping new intros on to a press release and running the lot as a news piece is standard fare among many overworked reporters.
There is a fine line between when you do and do not need to attribute, and Noelle was probably on the wrong side of that line with a couple of her on air pieces, but as Cohen says I don’t think it warranted such a big story, and you do wonder if the fact she also writes a column for the SST’s rival newspaper was a factor.