A distinguished University of Missouri-Columbia journalism professor will no longer write a weekly newspaper column after admitting he plagiarized material from a student reporter.
John Merrill, a professor emeritus at the university's School of Journalism, wrote a Sunday column for the Columbia Missourian, a community newspaper affiliated with the school.
It appears that the the concept of "unintentional plagiarism," popularized in the Poshard matter at Southern Illinois University, is catching on:
In a letter to Missourian editors, Merrill apologized for what he called "unintentional plagiarism."
"Careless, I'll admit, but not intentional," he said. "All these dozens and dozens of columns and some 30 books and innumerable magazine and newspaper articles and never before have I been accused of plagiarism."
Merrill is a former director of the Louisiana State University journalism school and also has taught at Northwestern State, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia, California State-Long Beach and the University of North Carolina.
Editor and Publisher quoted Merrill: “But I assure you that it was ‘unintentional’ plagiarism, and I had no reason to make it look as if I got these quotes from the sources directly. I was using them as a springboard for my opinion. But I did it, and I’m sorry. Careless, I’ll admit, but not intentional."
In an unrelated story in San Antonio, Bob Richter wrote of a blog plagiarism matter involving Harry Page:
... veteran E-N sports staffer Harry Page was terminated last week for lifting information — which he presented in his bowling blog as his own — from two websites: www.bowl.com, the Web site of the U.S. Bowling Congress, and www.pbatour.com, the Professional Bowlers Association Tour Web site.
Page had worked in the sports department since April 19, 1970, and was one of the first people to greet me here when I joined the sports staff in 1978. I hate to see him go out like this, but, as Editor Robert Rivard told staff, the newspaper has "zero tolerance" for plagiarism. [IPBiz: is this story real???]