Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Plagiarist! (6x UPDATED)

6th UPDATE: 9:47 p.m. EST: Though not yet confirmed publicly by ESPN, it appears Selva has been suspended and for an indefinite period of time for plagiarizing.


5th UPDATE: 8:48 p.m. EST: It appears an "I goofed" is going to be good enough in this case. The Orange County Register reports that both Selva and ESPN's vice president of communications have acknowledged the plagiarism committed by Selva.

But there is no indication of any kind of penalty.

According to the paper, Selva wrote:
I made a horrible mistake and I’m deeply sorry.  I did not live up to my high standards or ESPN’s. As I often do, I research local stories to use as background for writing my script. In this case, I cut and pasted the story with every intention of writing my own. I simply forgot and I completely understand why this is a major problem. I sincerely apologize for my sloppiness, especially to Kevin Ding, viewers and colleagues. In my 15 years in broadcast journalism, nothing like this has ever happened and I will make every effort to ensure it won’t happen again.
If we accept that Selva is truly sorry and that no such previous acts of plagiarism took place, then we still are left with some interesting questions:

1. Did Selva not remember after he used Ding's words that he had "made a horrible mistake"?
2. Why did Selva never reach out to Ding before he was called out for his plagiarism to apologize?
3. Did Selva discuss the "horrible mistake" with anyone at ESPN before today?

I'm willing to accept that Selva feels terrible, and I'm fully confident he is embarrassed. But an after-the-fact apology rings incomplete, in my opinion.

4th UPDATE: 5:45 p.m. EST: I am still waiting for a public response from ESPN. I hope you are, as well. 

3rd UPDATE: 2:46 p.m. EST: Let me make something clear here -- I don't know Will Selva, and I've never met the man. So please don't believe that there is some kind of personal animosity in my blunt reaction to his plagiarism.

Rather, I cannot tolerate plagiarism. It's that simple. And in this case, he did it -- and he should be penalized appropriately. I expect ESPN to respond accordingly to his breach of professional ethics.

2nd UPDATE: 2:07 p.m. EST: Selva's ESPN biography.

1st UPDATE: 2:05 p.m. EST: I just took a look at the ESPN home page and there has yet to be a public response from the network as to the obvious plagiarism that Selva engaged in. The network cannot ignore this issue, hoping that perhaps it will go away.

The network could suspend or fire Selva, but it must do something. Sweeping this under the rug as some unfortunate indiscretion is not acceptable.

ORIGINAL POST: Not sure what ESPN's Will Selva was thinking...but he goofed. Badly.

Should he be canned for the blatant plagiarism? Let me answer the question -- yes.

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