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.


Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.