Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What is plagiarism?: An example by Michael Kelly of The Irish Catholic

I spotted a post recently about journalists who plagiarise other people's work and pass it off as their own. So I looked up wikipedia and found the working definition as follows:
Plagiarism is the use or close imitation of the language and ideas of another author and representation of them as one's own original work.

In journalism, plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination.

Since journalism's main currency is public trust, a reporter's failure to honestly acknowledge their sources undercuts a newspaper or television news show's integrity and undermines its credibility. Journalists accused of plagiarism are often suspended from their reporting tasks while the charges are being looked into by the news organization.

I was reading a book entitled "Letters to a Young Catholic" by well-known American author George Weigel recently. Chapter two of his book is a fascinating account of the find of the 'trophies' of St Peter in the Roman Basilica under the reign of Pope Pius XI.
On can read this chapter here on google books.
It is pages 19-21 which chime exactly with what I read later in an article by Michael Kelly, a journalist with The Irish Catholic newspaper.
George Weigels book was published in 2004 while Michael Kelly's article, with exactly the same wording was published a year later in The Irish Catholic on February 17, 2005.

[Click for full photo view] The first paragraph, in chapter two of Weigel's book reads:


"Pius XI died on February 10, 1939. Prior to his election as bishop of Rome in 1922, he had ben the archbishop of Milan for a brief period, and the Milanesee wanted to honour his memory by building a fitting resting place for him in St. Peter's Basilica. So funds were raised, artists commissioned, and a magnificent marble sarcophagus, which was to be the centrepiece of a richly decorated mosaic vault, was prepared and sent to Rome. ........"

The first paragraph of Michael Kelly's article has exactly the same wording and continues in that vein for the rest of the article.

For more on this see here.


  1. Well spotted!

    The Irish Catholic has become unreadable under O'Sullivan. Up until a few years ago it was an excellent paper. Now it's become thoroughly secularized-all in his professed aim to 'move away from a clerecized church'. This week's front is a story about ex-Anglo-Irish chief's champagne lunches at Croker. How is that even relevant to the faith?

  2. has anyone reported this guy to the press commission? Or is it going to be the usual irish way with corruption...say nothing till the country is up the swanee?