Media

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.

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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.