ESPN’s ‘Wikipedia problem’: A reminder of B/R’s plagiarism policy
Our friends at Deadspin love to beat up on Bleacher Report, but they also love to beat up on ESPN. You may have caught them hammering ESPN entertainment writer Lynn Hoppes in the last few days for plagiarizing Wikipedia.
“Hoppes is, shall we say, over-reliant on Wikipedia as a research tool,” is how Deadspin’s Isaac Rauch put it in a piece that went on to detail more than a dozen instances of Hoppes copying wholesale from Wikipedia or paraphrasing so slightly that he might as well have just copied.
This is the sort of thing that will get you fired from B/R if you’re an employee, or your publishing privileges removed permanently if you’re in the Writer Program. It’s fine to use Wikipedia for background material, but you have to follow the information back to the primary source that Wikipedia cites and attribute that if you use it. And you can’t just copy the text.
Perhaps addressing it means Hoppes has been fired, but it looks more like a suspension. He hasn’t written for ESPN.com since his July 12 ESPYS report, and he hasn’t tweeted since that day either, but his Twitter bio still reads, “I work for ESPN with an emphasis on the E….”
This seems like a good time for a review about plagiarism, attribution and citing sources. Here are some Bleacher Report Blog posts covering these subjects: