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Lawyer responds after reporter loses job in plagiarism probe

RALEIGH (AP) A veteran North Carolina newspaper reporter lost her job after editors found she used material from other publications in her stories without credit.

The News & Observer announced Anne Blythe’s departure on its website this week. A lawyer for Blythe said July 20 that the Raleigh newspaper didn’t give her an adequate opportunity to respond to the allegations.

Executive Editor Robyn Tomlin wrote earlier this week that the newspaper found at least a dozen instances of Blythe taking phrases, sentences or whole paragraphs from other outlets without properly attributing the information.

“She has been a treasured colleague who has done some important work, but plagiarism and inadequate attribution are a fundamental violation of trust,” Tomlin wrote. “As such, we have decided to part ways.”

A lawyer for Blythe, James Hash, issued a statement July 20 saying that his client has been “deeply committed to journalistic integrity” in a career spanning thousands of articles.

“The N&O did not afford Anne a meaningful opportunity to review and respond to these allegations before publishing its conclusions,” Hash said. “Anne intends to respond at the appropriate time and in the appropriate venue.”

She covered major court cases involving state government during her 30 years with the newspaper and affiliated publications.

The newspaper said it was adding a note to online versions of each story identified in the probe saying which outlets the uncredited material came from. Those stories range from coverage of Supreme Court decisions affecting the state to a reward offered for information on the killing of an endangered red wolf.

The newspaper examined 600 of Blythe’s stories published since January 2016 after a reporter from another outlet complained. Tomlin and publisher Sara Glines declined to say July 20 which publication alerted them.

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