Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kansas City Star Cans Columnist for Plagiarism

The Kansas City StarImage via WikipediaThe McClatchy Company-owned Kansas City Star has fired 31-year veteran employee Steve Penn for plagiarism.

The 53-year-old Penn, who has been a Star metro columnist since 2000, was found to have copied verbatim material contained in press releases without attribution in his columns on more than a dozen occasions dating back to 2008, according to Star Editor Mike Fannin. Penn, whose forte was human interest pieces, purportedly duplicated in one column the contents of a press release about the alliance between  Alaadeen Enterprises, Inc. and the family of the late jazz great Duke Ellington to help U.S. Veterans. Similarly, in a tribute column to restaurateur Maxine Virginia Byrd, Penn purloined descriptive phrases and a significant portion of a press release about Byrd written by a funeral home.

Trolling press releases for column content proves the old adage: the Penn is not mightier than the flack.

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