I have a strong feeling that a young reporter is entitled to one mistake and to have the holy bejeezus scared out of her to never do it again.
Totenberg's theft occurred in 1972. It is alive and well with 36,200 results on the Internet 42 years later.
Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin apparently outsourced some research and the researchers' notes turned up the their finished texts. It seems the researchers copied sentences verbatim from original sources and neglected to mention it to the authors.
Embarrassing, although inadvertent.
A Few Additional Case Histories
- Mariana Cole-Rivera was fired for an unflattering post about her job on Facebook in 2010. Google her and you'll get 484,000 results.
- Connor Riley, 22, a master's degree candidate at the University of California was a Tweeter. She "soon became the latest laughingstock on the Internet, the 'Cisco Fatty' ingrate who pompously twittered her way out of employment in this dire economy." Google "Connor Riley" and you'll get 15.6 million results.
- Eric Glatt achieved publicity—and notoriety—for suing Fox Searchlight. He was hired as an unpaid intern to work with the producers of Black Swan, and felt he had been taken advantage of. Glatt and a fellow intern sued Fox Searchlight for payment. I wrote this up in a blog and it generated the largest response from readers in 9 years of this column. Google "Eric Glatt" and you get 396,000 results.
For the rest of their lives, these three will be living under a sword of Damocles.
According to Christoffer Ellehuus—Managing Director, Corporate Executive Board—in all fields when a job is listed, an average of 118 applications are submitted.
If any of these kids applies for a job, a conscientious HR director will Google them and get back hundreds of thousands hits. The verdict:
"Troublemaker! Next résumé."