East Valley Tribune Drops Financial Planning Column After Byline Flap

 The East Valley Tribune's executive editor writes in a column today that the newspaper will no longer run columns submitted by a local woman who didn't actually write them.

The column often appeared with a picture of the supposed author, Rebecca Warren [pictured] of Warren Financial Services, which made it look homespun. In fact, the articles were written by the Financial Planning Association and appeared in newspapers across the country with different bylines.

According to the column by Chris Coppola:

 Unfortunately, we at the Tribune were not aware of the FPA's role in producing the columns. The columns were not submitted by Warren with the explanation of the source suggested by the FPA. As a result, the columns were incorrectly presented as Warren's original work and did not attribute the source of the information correctly.

This doesn't seem to be a case of plagiarism, per se. Warren didn't think she was doing anything wrong -- she just didn't understand the rules of proper attribution, Coppola writes.

The newspaper will no longer publish the columns, state Coppola. The Trib also seems to have unhooked all of its links to the past columns.

In case anyone else out there is also confused about attribution, here's the simple rule:

If you didn't write it, you don't get to take credit for it.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.