Borges’s column, like other sports ‘notes’ columns in the Globe, contain[s] a line at the bottom, reading, ‘material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.’ But [sports editor Joe] Sullivan said reporters are expected to use the shared notes for background material and not to lift the language directly from one another.
As a condition of his suspension, Borges has to refrain from broadcast appearances, the paper’s editor, Marty Baron, is quoted as saying. Baron also labels Borges’ transgression as “plagiarism.”
The Herald’s Messenger Blog goes with a fuller statement from Baron that also invokes the “P”-word.
I guess the biggest question is whether Borges will accept his punishment or quit the Globe. Borges, like many prominent sportswriters, has several broadcast and writing gigs. But his spot at the Globe is his meal ticket; without that, he wouldn’t be nearly as much in demand. My guess is that he’ll do his time and stick around.
The next step the Globe should take is to reword and clarify that disclaimer. It’s a landmine. I’d be willing to bet that Borges still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. (Don’t misunderstand me: I think he definitely crossed the line.) Here’s a suggestion: Write the “notes” columns like blogs, quoting from other papers directly when appropriate, and linking in the online versions. No disclaimer necessary.