‘My bad’: Examiner.com writer caught lifting Stars and Stripes story


Stars and Stripes national correspondent Megan McCloskey was surprised to see her Oct. 27 story about Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan’s beard posted on examiner.com — under John Pretti’s byline. (He has one original paragraph at the end of the post.)

She sent the reporter this complaint:


It appears you have plagiarized my story on Examiner.com. This story with your byline is lifted from the Stars and Stripes word for word, as you can clearly see here.

Please have it taken down immediately.

Thank you,

Megan McCloskey

McCloskey tells Romenesko readers: “This was the initial response I received yesterday before he sent the longer apology note” that’s posted below.

Whoops, my bad. I thought I gave you credit since that is where I did see the story. Busted.

It has been removed. I did add my 2 cents at the end, though.


He then sent this apology:

Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:27 AM
To: McCloskey, Megan
Subject: Apologize


It was not my intention to pass off your story as my own. I screwed up since I always give proper credit when I use information from someone else especially when I quote word for word. Writing, as you know, does not always come from personal information and other sources must be used. Your story just had to be reprinted and I did, but I failed to give you all the credit. For this, I deeply apologize. If you sued me for my earnings, you would get a whopping $3.65. We make practically nothing on our articles. It is just a hobby.

I would like to rewrite the story with your permission and quote you plus give you all the credit due. My entire military career has included reading the Stars and Stripes every day. You guys do a great job for the troopers. Keep up keeping them informed.

John “Jack” Pretti

“I discovered the plagiarism yesterday when I was doing a search for news stories about the victims of the Fort Hood shootings,” McCloskey writes in an email. “The blurb beneath the google result for the Examiner.com page showed a quote a source had given me for my story, so I assumed that the Examiner’s story had simply cited that portion my news story. I was appalled to find my story in its entirety – and without a single reference to Stars and Stripes. I scrolled looking for a credit to my newspaper, thinking surely no one would so blatantly rip off an entire news story, but there was nothing but John Pretti’s byline.”

* McCloskey’s Stars and Stripes story | Cached version of examiner.com’s story