This story has been updated to include comments from Global News.
Pop Goes The News — Canadian media outlet Global News updated an article on its website early Tuesday after it was accused of plagiarizing Pop Goes The News.
The post headlined “Toronto drag queen Michelle DuBarry honoured with Guinness World Record” was published on Globalnews.ca just before noon on Monday.
Several readers noticed that parts of the article were similar to what was published on Pop Goes The News back on Nov. 25.
“Russell began performing in the early sixties first as Anita Mode and then later as Michelle DuBarry and toured with Phase One and then The Great Imposters,” read the original Globalnews.ca article.
A week earlier, Pop Goes The News reported: “He began performing in the early ’60s as Anita Modé and later, as Michelle DuBarry, toured with Phase One and then The Great Imposters.”
On Tuesday morning, the sentence in the Globalnews.ca article was revised to read: “Russell began performing in the early sixties first as Anita Mode and then later as Michelle DuBarry and could be seen on stage touring with Phase One and then later with The Great Imposters.”
The Globalnews.ca article, which appears with the byline of anchor Angie Seth, also originally read: “The Guinness Book of World Records designation was announced at Statlers bar on Church Street, where DuBarry performs regularly.”
This was oddly similar to what appeared earlier on Pop Goes The News: “…was announced Tuesday night at Statlers, a Church Street bar where she regularly performs.”
Global News has since revised the sentence to read: “The Guinness Book of World Records designation was announced at Statlers bar on Church Street, where DuBarry performs her act on a regular basis.”
Its original post explained to readers that “The drag surname DuBarry is from the 1943 Lucille Ball Film DuBarry Was A Lady.”
A week earlier, Pop Goes The News explained: “The drag surname is taken from the 1943 Lucille Ball film Du Barry Was a Lady.”
On Tuesday, Global News updated the sentence to: “The name DuBarry actually originated from the 1943 Lucille Ball Film, DuBarry Was A Lady, about a woman and her relationship with her husband.”
In a Facebook message, Seth said she “wrote a few sentences but read about [DuBarry] from various sources.”
Pop Goes The News was the first to report on DuBarry’s Guinness honour. The article had more than 5,000 Facebook shares.
Troy Reeb, senior vice president of Global News, and Ward Smith, senior director of Global News, were advised of the alleged plagiarism on Monday night via email.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Smith responded. He said the article used “materials and sources from … several small articles and information from Michelle Dubarry’s handlers.”
Smith insisted “there was no deliberate intent to write similar copy when relating the same facts that appeared in PopGoesTheNews.com.”
He added: “We take any allegations of plagiarism very seriously and will be linking our revised article to your original story.”
Although Global News updated its article, it did not immediately add an editor’s note informing readers of the original source material.
In 2013, the company confronted CBC News about similarities in an article on the latter’s website to one on Globalnews.ca. CBC News revised its story to credit Global News and added: “Editor’s Note: This story has been rewritten to acknowledge a previously published story by Global Toronto titled ‘Mysterious Christmas Eve ‘boom’ heard and felt around GTA.’ Parts of our story resembled too closely the original Global article. ”
Montreal’s Concordia University defines plagiarism as “the presentation of the work of another person as one’s own or without proper acknowledgement” and includes “all words quoted directly from another source” and “all ideas paraphrased from a source.”
In a position paper on ethics, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) stated: “The digital age we’re currently in offers both the most opportunities to verify the authenticity of original work and also misuse it without giving credit to the original reporting source.”
The SPJ acknowledged that “most outlets now are multi-platform, so the traditional broadcast news outlet is looking for content for its website, and may take something from another news site without crediting the original source in haste for getting that content posted.”
It added “integrity and credibility, two of the most important values in journalism, demand that all media outlets be clear about the source of stories they did not produce.”
The author of the Pop Goes The News article is a former employee of Global News.