Journalism Crime Comitter Covers Justice Department PositionPosted: February 15, 2012
Sara Horwitz, an investigative reporter for the Washington Post for over 20 years was exposed for plagirizing from The Arizona Republic last March. “Plagiarism is one of journalism’s unforgivable sins.”according to The Washington Post’s internal code of standards and ethics and essentially everyone in the field of journalism. Horwitz was suspended without pay for three months by the Post as its executive editor frantically attempted damage control by issuing a public apology. Horwitz paragraphs from two online posts from the Arizona Republic regarding a Tuscon murder case.
What is interesting about this story is that The Washington Post seems to have entirely forgotten about Horwitz’s violation as they recently announced that Sari Horwitz would be taking over the Justice Department. What? Apparently plagiarism isn’t one of the Post’s “unforgivable sins”. In Marcus Brauchli public apology last March he stated how sorry the Post was for this “serious lapse”. He later stated that “Sari screwed up. She knows she screwed up.” as if she were a naive child and not a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who is certainly acquainted with journalism ethics. When a news company is busted for plagarisim their entire credibility is questioned. The fact that Horwitz is even allowed to work for the Post again is alarming to me but the fact that she is now taking over the Justice Department is shear irony. In Horwitz’s apology she wrote that she made a mistake ““Under the pressure of tight deadlines”. As a public affairs issue it should be concerning to readers to know that someone who has proven to be untrustworthy will now be heading the Justice Department- a field that needs to delicately handle the truth more than any other. What do you think? Should today’s fast-paced continuous deadlines created by online reporting be considered an excuse to plagiarize? Did the Post do the right thing by giving Horwitz this powerful position?