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Examiner.com caught plagiarizing–are other hyper local sites safe?

Examiner.com is hyper local site that collates local news from amateur journalists worldwide. Their About Us site explains that using the word “examiner” describe their reporters as people “from all walks of life and contribute original content to entertain, inform, and inspire.” But a huge snafu questions the credibility of the site.

Missoulian reports that two “examiners” from Examiner.com, plagiarized several articles from their site. But what’s interesting about this story is that the Examiners’ vice president of editorial, Travis Henry, didn’t find out about the accused plagiarism until reading a post on the Poynter.com site. The Romenseko+ article reported that the Examiner posts are guilty of committing a “Daily Mail.

On January 19, 2011, the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, posted an article that was mildly familiar to a New York Times article written two days earlier. This is only one of the many reports in which the Daily Mail was accused of plagiarizing other news organizations.

Therefore, I don’t think any news organization that considers itself a credible news source would want to be compared to the Daily Mail.

But what I find hard to believe is that someone with Henry’s position wasn’t informed of this accusation. Isn’t an editor responsible for knowing if all articles were fact checked for credibility and any red flagged articles are up for discussion?

I find it embarrassing that Henry found out about the accusations from a third party site. Someone at Examiner.com isn’t doing their job correctly and I think Henry should do more than offering a viral apology to their readers.

Even though their content comes from all over the world, averaging about 2.5 million pieces worth of content, the basic facets of journalism call for credibility–by any means necessary.

I think what it all boils down to is how do hyper local sites protect themselves against plagiarism?

I believe that hyper local sites is a great way for city residents to gather news going on in their communities. I think by hiring local journalist ambassadors, they are responsible for fact checking submitted articles and breaks down the risk for plagiarism. This would help keep these issues at bay that can be lost within thousands of submissions.

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