U-Va. Newspaper Editors Faced Trumped-up Charges After Revealing Reporter’s Alleged Plagiarism.

After editors of The Cavalier Daily, discovered blatant plagiarism by a staff reporter last month, they reported the offense to their readers, reported it to the university’s student-run Honor Committee and removed the compromised articles from the paper’s website.

Only to find five editors facing formal charges of breaching the University’s Code of Conduct two days later, a charge punishable by expulsion, according to an Oct. 19 Washington Post article.

According to Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and the Washington Post, Anna Marie McKenzie, student and Honor Committee Chair, filed charges against the five student editors through the University of Virginia’s Judiciary Committee. Four of the five charges were dropped, until only Jason Ally, editor in chief, remained on the chopping block, according to the Washington Post.

Jason Ally, editor in chief of the Cavalier Daily found not guilty. Photo Courtesy: http://www.cavalierdaily.com Photo by: Scott Miles

McKenzie alleged the newspaper’s editorial board breached the confidentiality of the reporter’s Honor Committee investigation and the University’s Code of Conduct by publishing the Sept. 12 editorial that announced the plagiarism to Cavalier Daily readers, according to SPLC. (Find The Cavalier Daily editorial here).

The Cavalier Daily editors concealed the identity of the reporter and their work. “The reason: They had reported him to the Honor Committee, a panel that goes to great lengths to protect the identities of alleged offenders,” according to the Washington Post.

“We took every possible step to conceal the identity of the author,” Ally said. “The initial editorial we ran disclosing the plagiarism incident did not include the writer’s name, the writer’s gender, what section the writer worked for or even the titles of the published stories.”

 

The editors full-filled the newspaper’s responsibility to the community they served by reporting the offense. The Cavalier Daily’s editorial board straddled the regulations and ethics of the journalism world and the University’s Code of Conduct admirably with grace and aplomb.

Yet, the editors were thrown under scrutiny and judgement with trumped-up charges. One wonders what McKenzie’s thoughts were as she filed charges against her fellow students. Petty angst? Blinded by power? Or, did she really believe the Sept. 12 editorial violated the confidential identity and impartiality of judgement concerning the word-thief?

On Oct. 18, over a month since the incident occurred, Ally was cleared by the University Judiciary Committee of violating the university’s Code of Conduct by publishing the damning editorial.

Thank god.

What do you think we should take away from this? Was this a case of power hungry bureaucracy run rampart? Or, democracy in a real world application?

Small Businesses and Social Media – Yay or Nay?

Could your small business improve by using social media?

The majority of small businesses seem immune to the lure of social media. A potentially grisly mistake costing them $$$.

Hiscox, a small business insurance provider, polled 304 business leaders on their feelings and business uses of social media sites in June, according to Mashable.com.

The poll resulted in 64 percent of small business leaders checking social media off as something unnecessary and something they had no opinion about, according to eMarketer.com.

No opinion? Well, your (potential) consumers certainly do have an opinion.

“I usually look up a company to keep up on their deals and to watch for products,” Nicole Latti, Worcester, MA, wrote in a Facebook comment. “I’ve honestly only run into (the problem of no corporate Facebook account) once and I was really surprised. I feel that most companies have a Facebook now and to see one without was rare and disappointing.”

Consumers are using Facebook to check up on the brands, products and companies they buy or may buy from. As discussed in Facebook: A Popular Destination for Retail Promotions, 56 percent of consumers admit to using retailer’s Facebook page to keep track of promotions and products, according to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Study.

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Facebook: A Popular Destination for Retail Promotions.

Facebook dominates as the leading social networking space.

According to The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 92 percent of social networking site users use Facebook. In contrast, 29 percent of #SM media users use MySpace, 18 percent use LinkedIn and 13 percent use Twitter. (For those of you interested, here is a link to the complete report).

An even greater statistic to marketers?

Social media consumers use these platforms regularly. The report states 52 percent of Facebook users and 33 percent of Twitter users engage with the sites daily. Adults, 35 and older, using the internet have doubled since 2008 and the numbers are only going to continue to rise.

What this boils down to is a consumer market ready for interaction on social media spaces, especially on Facebook.

“Online consumers are now using retailer’s Facebook pages as online circulars to engage with brands online,” according to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Study.

Compete’s report states that one quarter of consumers now visit an official Facebook page for a retailer or a product at least a month. With approximately 56 percent admitting to using a retailers’ Facebook page to keep up with sales or promotions.

A few Retailer and Product Example Facebook pages

“Our data show that Facebook pages can be a highly strategic and relatively low-cost marketing tool for retailers to engage with shoppers,” said Debra Arbesman, Compete senior associate, retail and consumer products. “Savvy retailers are now making Facebook pages part of an integrated online shopping experience, and we expect this model will take the industry by storm in the coming months.”

More than 20 percent of consumers said Facebook pages have been “influential” or “extremely influential” in making a purchasing decision. (Just remember, social media sites for retailers can be good or bad. Having a poor social media presence is worse than having none).

Original photo courtesy of media.giantbomb.com

When’s the last time you’ve seen a T.V. commercial or print ad without mention of a Facebook page?

Are you more prone to visit the retailer or product website or their Facebook page? These are all questions we ask ourselves when hearing such significant statistic analysis on “our” habits.

Do you find yourself in any of the categories listed below?

I know I do.

Graphic courtesy of Compete.com

 

Pounding the Pavement

Pick me! Pick me! Hire me! Photo courtesy of familyhomesecurity.com.

Still searching for employment?

Ya, me too.

As a recent grad, clutching her freshly minted diploma in hand, I had no dreams of stepping off the stage and dozens of job recruiters boisterously jumping over themselves to offer me THE job. Not with an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in May 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Couple unemployment rates with a staggering 1.65 million graduates in Spring 2011, according to USAToday, and you have too many people clamoring to claim too few jobs. Let’s not even mention the number of previous years college graduates still looking for work…

However, even with all of this, I wasn’t expecting to still be jobless almost two months after graduating. Definitely not in the life plan.

The situation leaves me hunting like a fiend for any opportunity in the field of communications. The dream? Digital journalist – online, social media and more geeky possibilities than I can comprehend. Willing to take – anything. I applied to be a desk clerk because they allowed me to do some copy editing on the side.

Sigh.

And, whenever I or you do seem to get a job in your sights that you feel perfectly qualified for…

Photo courtesy of wsjw.org.

You are smacked with the reality that there are hundreds of people behind you apply for the exact same position.

There were 4 million people pounding the internet’s synthetic pavement searching for jobs daily in 2002 (you can be sure that number has doubled by 2011), according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Once that number has sunk in, you pick your jaw up and prepare for the fight of your independent life to get the interview and then the job.

Photo courtesy of barbaraleung.com

If you’re under the misconception that eh, you have time. I would advise you to think again. Class of 2011 is being referred to as the year of the most indebted ever, according to – everyone.

The historic figures of debt 2011 graduates on average accrued: $22,900$27,200.

The most laughable of all of this?

I only know one single 2011 college graduate with loans that low – and it wasn’t me.

 

***UPDATE*** Since posting this article I have found work as the Public Relations and Digital Marketing Strategist for 5 Star Agency Inc.