Staff Editorial

It was recently brought to our attention that there was a potential issue of plagiarism in The Mac Weekly this semester.
An anonymous tip claimed that the op-ed “Hepatitis is a friendship killer: Don’t DIY bod-mod” by Zosha Winger-Schultz ’16 was lifted from a similar article that ran in the Earlham College student newspaper The Earlham Word in April. Winegar-Schultz was a desk editor for The Word at the time that the article was published, and she was actively involved in the writing and editing process.

The Mac Weekly article in question, which ran in our Nov. 8 issue, can be viewed on our website. Our managing staff, as well as two members of the Macalester administration, recently read the article and carefully compared it to that which it was accused of plagiarizing. We concluded that the articles, though addressing the same topic, are distinct from one another and that the Mac Weekly story is original from that published in The Word.

Additionally, The Mac Weekly has received confirmation from the writer of the Earlham Word story that Winegar-Schultz’s story is not “an infringement on [the writer’s] original content.” Both writers acknowledge that Winegar-Schultz was clearly and actively involved in the production of the article printed in The Earlham Word.

The reason we want to make you, reader, aware of this issue is twofold. First, one of our goals as an independent student newspaper is transparency with our readership. We want you to feel comfortable knowing that we share with you what goes on in the production and management of this paper.

Second, we want the Macalester community to be fully aware that we are constantly concerned with how we navigate the grey areas surrounding the issue of plagiarism. Though it is rare that an accusation such as this one comes about, we are always working to make sure that our content is no one’s work but our own. This does not stop at what we write: our photographs and graphics often come from non-Mac Weekly sources, and we are continuously working to be thorough in making sure these materials are properly cited and that we have permission to use them, either directly from the photographer or through licensing.

If you have any interest in participating in ongoing conversations about how to avoid plagiarism in our newspaper, we encourage you to get in touch with anyone on the Mac Weekly staff (we check [email protected] regularly). We are strong proponents of clear communication with our readership, and we would love to hear your thoughts on this (and any other) matter.