Skip to comments.NPR unpublishes internís execution story after discovering parts were plagiarized
Posted on 07/11/2012 7:40:40 PM PDT by Drango
NPR has deleted a story from its website, an interns first-person account of witnessing a public execution in Kabul, after learning that parts of it were plagiarized from someone elses story published in 2001. An editors note now holds the place of the story on NPR.org, though it can still be found online. (Heres a screenshot in case its deleted.)
Late Monday night, this message was sent on behalf of Margaret Low Smith, NPRs senior VP for news:
Earlier today, we published and distributed a story by Ahmad Shafi recounting his experience witnessing a public execution in Kabul in 1998. Since the story was published, it has come to our attention that portions of the piece were copied from a story by Jason Burke, published by the London Review of Books in March 2001. We have unpublished the piece by Ahmad Shafi and ask that all stations remove the story from their websites, as well.
Shafi is an NPR intern. He came to DC after working for us in our Kabul bureau as a producer and fixer. We deeply regret this incident.
Jason Burke is a British journalist; Shafi says in his account that he was working for a female British journalist when he saw the execution. Burke said he sat high in the stands of the football stadium where the execution occurred, while Shafi says he saw the execution from the field.
Shafi writes that a recent public execution reminded him of the one in 1998. Portions of his account of the execution are word-for-word copies of Jason Burkes account; other parts are slightly rewritten. According to NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher, Shafi was at the execution:
What happened is fairly simple: an intern made a mistake. English is not Shafis first language; its one of five he speaks. In writing about this execution he witnessed in 1998, he went looking for a better way to describe what he remembered seeing. When asked about the similar passages by our editors, he was completely upfront and honest, and deeply contrite.
Though hes an intern, Shafi worked in NPRs Kabul bureau for over a year as a producer, fixer and translator. His byline is on 15 to 20 stories on NPR.org. Christopher said:
He came to our attention for the summer internship, and weve been delighted by his work. Were bringing other local staff from our international bureaus to D.C. this year, to learn production skills, meet with our editors, and grain experience and training. Shafi is here for the purposes of learning, and if anything, this is a very public learning experience.
~snip...go online to read. It's a lot easier to follow.
but the truth is so boring, it sells more if we embellish a little.................
What’s the problem here? NPR stories are mostly fiction and fabrication anyway; and since the intern actually works for the government that funds him with our tax money he can’t be held to any sort of ethical standard, or so it seems.
I can’t believe he’s not on the next plane home.
Inspired by Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate” legacy?
A Soros funded intern? What are the chances?