A Matter of Trust: Plagiarism, Fake Sources and Paradigm Repair in the Danish News Media

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In 2015 two major journalistic scandals hit the Danish news media. One was a plagiarism scandal in which a freelance foreign correspondent was found to have plagiarized parts of the stories she had filed from other international news media. The other scandal involved a sports journalist who was found to have invented a large number of the sources that were quoted in his stories and had made up false co-bylines. In a time of diminishing trust in the news media (Blach-Ørsten & Burkal, 2013; Reuters, 2016) these scandals represented a significant and acute credibility problem for the news media that were affected. Using paradigm repair theory this paper analyses which strategies the affected news media employed to re-instore trust in their journalism, and thus in the traditional news paradigm, as quickly as possible. Like previous studies on paradigm repair (Bennet et al, 1975; Hackett, 1984; Hindman, 2005), we find that the Danish news media tried to distance themselves from the journalists involved in the scandals and describe them as ‘bad apples’ (Cecil, 2002). But, in both scandals, we also find that the Danish news media went to great lengths to investigate the accusations, document the transgressions and in the end, also accepted some of the responsibility for having allowed the scandals to take place to begin with.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe Future of Journalism 2017 - Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sep 201715 Sep 2017
Conference number: 6


ConferenceThe Future of Journalism 2017
LocationCardiff University
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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