Reporter settles with newspaper over plagiarism accusation

Jul 15, 2022, 2:02 AM | Updated: 2:11 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A journalist has settled a lawsuit arguing she was treated unfairly when she lost her job at a North Carolina newspaper amid a plagiarism investigation.

Former News & Observer reporter Anne Blythe reached a settlement with the paper’s former top editor, according to a statement issued Thursday by Blythe’s lawyer. The terms were not disclosed. Blythe had settled in 2021 with the newspaper and its parent company.

The newspaper’s then-Executive Editor Robyn Tomlin wrote a note to readers in 2018 saying that the newspaper had found instances of Blythe using material from other outlets without properly attributing the information.

Blythe’s lawyer said at the time that the newspaper didn’t give her an adequate chance to respond to the allegations. The lawsuit filed in 2019 disputed the contents of the note to readers and argued that it defamed her and prevented her from earning a living as a journalist.

“Anne Blythe filed suit in July 2019 against The News & Observer and its then-editor Robyn Tomlin to defend herself against accusations of plagiarism that cost Anne her job as a writer at The N&O in 2018 after nearly 30 years with the paper and related publications,” Blythe’s lawyer James Hash said in a statement, adding: “Anne is grateful for the support she received from colleagues over the past four years and is pleased to continue her work in the journalism profession she loves.”

The News & Observer has updated the online version of that note to readers saying that the lawsuit disputed its contents, but that the newspaper stands by its the accuracy of its findings.

Tomlin, now vice president for local news at the newspaper’s parent company McClatchy, issued a statement to the newspaper saying: “While we continue to stand behind the decisions made and what was published, I’m glad we can put this dispute behind us and move on.”

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Reporter settles with newspaper over plagiarism accusation