Sherri Ybarra, who becomes Idaho’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction next month, was caught plagiarizing from her opponent’s website during the campaign. (She says she was surprised to see the similar language, but “I take responsibility for final copy content.”)
Ybarra wasn’t forgiven by the student journalists at Borah High School in Boise. They reported the Ybarra campaign’s plagiarism using language that was lifted from Boise Weekly. (The editor’s note on the right ran next to the article.)

“We could apologize [for the plagiarism] and say that this is a mistake … but if our new state superintendent was able to get away with it, is it even worth it?”

Student editor Harmony Soto (below) tells the Idaho Statesman:

editorI have spent so much time in English class learning how to cite other people’s work, learning just how big of a deal it is. And then for someone like that to get elected, it seemed very sketchy. What does that say? What does that say about what standards we’re holding each other up to?

Boise Weekly’s George Prentice, whose article was “plagiarized” by Soto to make her point, tells Romenesko readers that “when the student and her mother called me [and asked for permission to plagiarize], I was rather taken aback at first. I was fascinated, intrigued and a bit worried all at once.”

He told them he wanted to talk to school officials before giving the okay.

“What I learned was that the project was a part of a bigger conversation in the school’s journalism class about plagiarism. I told [the adviser] that I was impressed by the student’s gumption and that they could ‘borrow’ my work with my permission.”

Prentice adds:

On December 4th, I heard back from the student telling me that her school had just published paper, including the controversial story. This is what she told me:

“Almost as soon as I walked into my second period class, I had a fellow student throw a copy of the paper opened up to the Opinion age and say, ‘You’ve got some serious guts to do this!’”

I’m very impressed that a high school student has this much insight and I love the fact that it opens up a greater dialogue on plagiarism, particularly among students.

* Boise student editor plagiarizes to make a point (
* Student paper: Schools chief plagiarizes to win election (
* The student paper lifted from this piece to make a point (
* Rival campaigns, identical language (

* Texas Tribune and the Washington Post are now partners. ( | Earlier: New York Times splits up with Texas Tribune. (
* “I’m a realist” about the state of journalism, says Jack Shafer. “I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist.” (
* A year of turmoil and change at the New York Times. (
roll* Cuban journalists visit Cal State Fullerton’s student newspaper. (
* [RIGHT] You mean “pivotal role,” CBS News?
* Scott Pelley does the “CBS Evening News” from Havana. (
* Yes, readers will pay for worthwhile online content. (
* Waco TV meteorologist Patrick Crawford is shot multiple times in the KCEN-TV parking lot. A motive isn’t given. (
* Chicago sports anchor Mark Giangreco apologizes for his “Cut [Jay Cutler] or cut your wrists” chyron. (
* Rupert Murdoch will “retire” in 2015, and other predictions from Michael Wolff. (
* JOBS: Atlantic Media Strategies is looking for a managing editor. (Romenesko Jobs)
* Football writer: Are we aiding and abetting a gladiator bloodsport? (
* Iowa State Daily student journalists did a nice job with Iowa State Hoops. (
* J-schools are adding more sports journalism classes. (
* Hilary Sargent goes from deputy editor to senior writer at (
* San Antonio’s KENS-TV retracts two I-Team stories after being sued. ( | The retraction: (
* “Theater owners should be ashamed of themselves,” says Jimmy Kimmel. (


The director’s note:medill

* Medill Watchdog is closing its doors in the coming weeks (

The Houston Chronicle’s Karen Chen sends this email:

I’m a recent Medill grad (BSJ ’14) and frequent intern with our school’s investigative journalism team Medill Watchdog. Watchdog was the most valuable part of my education at Medill and I am only able to be part of the Houston Chronicle’s investigations team because of what director Rick Tulsky and the experiential training at Watchdog taught me. Not only did Watchdog give me skills to start out in this field, it inspired a fiery passion for investigative journalism and some of my most cherished college memories (even though many center on “boring” records requests)./CONTINUES Read More

A student posts on Reddit: “Hey all, have my journalism final tomorrow. It’s to write a lead on whatever story he gives you. Tips on writing good leads?”
You’re asking this late in the semester, Mr/Ms. Procrastinating Student? I’m not sure how much help this is, but here’s a good lead – or lede – from the Romenesko files. Let’s hope your prof gives you a UFO story.


* Hey all, have my journalism final tomorrow…” (
* “Peeing in his compost”: Best lede ever? (

New: “Most stories are better starting with the second paragraph” (

“Gotta love this classy upsell,” tweets Ryan Holiday.

Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by a Taliban gunman in 2012, so NPR always referred to her as “Malala” on second reference. mal2

“Two years later, should we still refer to her as ‘Malala?'” asks NPR standards and practices senior editor Mark Memmott.

That’s under discussion. For now, “Malala” remains OK even though that goes against the AP’s guidance (which the wire service isn’t following, by the way; it continues to call her “Malala”). One major reason not to change yet is that she’s known as “Malala” around the world.

* When it’s OK and not OK to use first names on second reference (

Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird has been missing for nearly a year now and the paper – after keeping him on the payroll for monthsdavidbird – has changed his status to “unpaid leave of absence.”

“This means that David’s wife Nancy, a stay-at-home wife and mother caring for their two children, has no income with which to provide for her family,” the Journal’s newsroom union tells members. “Imagine the anguish she faces each and every day – not knowing where her husband is or what happened to him AND wondering how she will manage her financial hardship.”

The union is asking members to contribute to the Bird Family Trust.

From: Your Union: IAPE 1096
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 10:23 AM
Subject: PLEASE GIVE: The Bird Family Trust

On January 11, 2014, Wall Street Journal reporter and IAPE member David Bird left his house in Millington, N.J., to take a brief walk to get some fresh air. He never returned.

Despite a widespread manhunt by the Long Hill, N.J., police and volunteers, nothing has turned up since last January to indicate what happened to David./CONTINUES Read More

* CNN, Netflix, NPR and other 2015 duPont winners have been announced. (
* Michael Wolff: “There’s only one media model that works, and that’s television. Digital media has managed to kill music, kill newspapers. It’s only television that exists now.” ( | “Wolff is wrong about almost everything to do with digital media.” (@mathewi)farl
* [RIGHT] Marquette roommates James Murphy and Chris Farley “dreamed of launching careers in cartooning and comedy, respectively.” (Murphy’s now with Pixar; RIP Farley.) (
* Ex-Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia tells j-students: “You will find the way because you are not wed to a traditional past. You are the new wave of content creators, born in a remarkable age of discovery.” (
* The parents of journalist Steve Sotloff light the first Hanukkah candle during a celebration. (
* A publication only survives if it’s “a must-read,” writes John Battelle. (
* Covering Ferguson: “We got gassed, we went home, we drank. Then we did it again, a day later.” (
* Layoffs begin at the New York Times; the media desk is hit hard. ( | (
* Prediction: BuzzFeed will hire a public editor in 2015. (
* David Mattingly is leaving CNN after 23 years to try something new. (
* Jerry Garcia‘s letter to a Vogue model is up for auction. ( | via FishbowlNY
* How Sony “edits” New York Times stories. (
* A Christmas tip sheet for reporters. (
* Good luck journalists, but newspaper management doesn’t care if you withhold your byline. (
* Mic dumps comments and tells readers to post their opinions on Facebook. (
* Pittsburgh Tribune-Review owner Richard Mellon Scaife didn’t leave any money for his kids. (
* “The Newsroom” finale “was beyond criticism and anyone who snickers needs to leave the room now,” writes Michael Miner. (

Howard Stern said on his SiriusXM show Monday that the Sony hackers should be considered to be terrorists and what they did was “no different than a 9/11-type attack.” He wasn’t minimizing 9/11 or disrespecting victims – I listened to the show – but New York Daily News reporters David Boroff and Nancy Dillon took offense and went after Stern in today’s paper.

A hurt and angry Stern said on Tuesday’s show:

I’m really bummed out. …My heart sank; I’m being called an idiot on a full page in the Daily News by two reporters who aren’t even supposed to have an opinion. …You painted me to be this insensitive piece of garbage when I’m saying our country is under attack in many different ways.

This is two reporters trying to make me look like a goddamn moron, some sort of evil person. It’s just frightening. I wish you [Boroff and Dillon] ill. I truly do. Thanks for the hatchet job. They knew what I was saying. …They knew the point I was making. …I hope they have a really shitty Christmas.

He called the Daily News duo the C-word – the one that ends with T – and said they “kicked me in the nuts” and made him feel like he was back in high school again.

* Howard Stern likens Sony hack to terrorism (

Update: Stern said on Wednesday’s show that somebody sent him the first version of the article and “it was fine. I have no problem with it. …An editor changed it and the reporters [Boroff and Dillon] are livid.” Stern said he phoned Mort Zuckerman to complain, but the News owner hasn’t returned the call.

- Fourth graf of the story linked below

– Fourth graf of the Newsweek story linked below

Adam Cohen tells Romenesko readers he wanted to talk to David Cay Johnston off the record “to be sure my response would reflect the breadth and complexity of this issue.” He notes that “the international tax system can’t be summed up with a few short words.”

What would I have said to David Cay Johnston off the record?

Well, I would have explained that the UK’s headline corporate tax rate is 21%, not 28% as he claims. And UK effective tax rates likely will keep falling due to government policies, including new tax breaks for intellectual property. I would have explained that Google’s current effective tax rate is 20.4%, the majority of which is paid in the United States, where our business originated.

I would have explained that the US, unlike European countries, taxes its companies’ profits on a global basis. And I would have talked about the process underway at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to redesign the the global corporate tax system. The UK, the US, and many other countries are involved, because this isn’t just about Apple, Google, or the UK.

David Cay Johnston writes that companies are “siphoning profits out of high-tax countries in Europe, Japan and North America and moving them around under various tax treaties until they are not subject to any tax because they are being reported in a nonexistent country called Nowhere.” This simply doesn’t reflect the facts of our business or the amount of tax we pay — 20.4%.

* How Google and Apple make their taxes disappear (

* New: “More reporters should do what Johnston did” (