Former Journalism Professor Fired for Plagiarism

Is there a better example of what's wrong with the media today than a former journalism professor getting fired for plagiarism?

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

As reported by the Associated Press Monday (emphasis added):

A distinguished University of Missouri-Columbia journalism professor will no longer write a weekly newspaper column after admitting to plagiarizing material from a student reporter.

John Merrill, a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, also wrote a Sunday column for the Columbia Missourian, a community newspaper affiliated with the school.

But a Nov. 4 column by Merrill about the university's women's and gender studies program used three quotes and other phrases taken directly from an Oct. 5 story in The Maneater, an independent student newspaper.

Missourian Executive Editor Tom Warhover disclosed the plagiarism in his own column Sunday. A review of Merrill's earlier work by Missourian editors found five more columns in which at least one quote had been taken from other publications without attribution, Warhover wrote.


Merrill is a former director of the Louisiana State University journalism school and has also taught at Northwestern State, Texas A&M, Maryland, Virginia, California State University, Long Beach, and the University of North Carolina.

He is a past winner of the Missouri Honor Medal for distinguished journalism service and a member of the Louisiana State and Iowa journalism halls of fame. Merrill has lectured and taught in more than 70 countries, according to his biography.


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