Is it something in the air, the beans, in Boston? Every few years the Boston Globe disciplines a columnist for assorted word thefts or blunders: Columnist Mike Barnicle resigned in 1995 for making up characters and quotes; columnist Patricia Smith resigned in 1998 admitting she made up characters and quotes; columnist Jeff Jacoby was suspended in 2000 for not crediting sources he quoted; and sports columnist Bob Ryan was suspended in 2003 for his live-TV advice to New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd on how to deal with his wife: "Smack her."
Now the Globe has suspended columnist Ron Borges for two months after the sportswriter lifted material from The News Tribune without crediting Tacoma reporter Mike Sando, the TNT's Seahawks beat writer. A TNT editor, Dale Phelps, says the paper finds the whole thing "unfortunate," but "from our point of view there's no anger or dismay. You have to take care of your house, and we have to take care of ours." (In 2004, the TNT rid its house of longtime restaurant critic Bart Ripp after discovering fictions in his reviews and learning he'd refused to pick up the check at one restaurant for 10 years).The Globe's story today (written by former P-I reporter Mike Paulson), points out that Borges' football-roundup columns contain a footnote: "material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report." But that's not a plagarism-proof disclaimer, says sports editor Joe Sullivan; writers ought to be sharing notes for background material, not lifting them word-for-word without credit. See what you think: