Jack Shafer

Plagiarists’ real crime? Ripping off readers.

By Jack Shafer
July 29, 2014

A man reads a newspaper in the auditorium before the lectures for the 15th biennial International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasilia

The plagiarists are back in the news, taking public beatings for allegedly having filed refried copy at BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and the United States Army War College, where Senator John Walsh, (D-Mont.), has just been busted for lifting portions of his 2007 master’s degree paper.

When editors bury that which cannot die

By Jack Shafer
July 11, 2012

When Tom Waits sang, “You can’t unring a bell,” on the album One From the Heart, he was saying that even if we shove all of life’s mistakes and embarrassments down the memory hole, they still ding-a-ling-ding-ding from the beyond.

Jonah Lehrer’s recycling business

By Jack Shafer
June 20, 2012

“Write every piece three times,” the late Richard Strout used to advise journalists who craved advancement in the profession.

How to think about plagiarism

By Jack Shafer
October 14, 2011

An editor must have a heart like leather. Not freshly tanned leather—all supple and yielding like a baby’s bum—but like an abandoned baseball glove that’s been roasting in the Sonoran Desert for five or six years. Only those who are hard of heart can properly deal with the plagiarists who violate the journalistic code.