Politico Reporter Forced to Resign For Plagiarism

After being contacted by a New York Times reporter about one incident, editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei found seven offending articles

Kendra Marr, a reporter for D.C.-focused Politico, resigned Thursday due to a series of stories she wrote that plagiarized from other outlets.

Marr’s actions were brought to Politico's attention by New York Times reporter who e-mailed an editor, prompting an internal investigation and resulting in both Marr’s resignation and a note published online from editor-in-chief John Harris and executive editor Jim VandeHei Thursday evening.

“One of the inviolable principles of journalism, one we live by at Politico, is that the work we publish must be genuinely our own,” Harris and VandeHei wrote. “Whenever we must rely on reporting or ideas that were first produced by others, our policy is to cite and/or link to these sources by name, and aim to be fully transparent with our audience.”

“We learned Thursday of a case where a reporter published work in Politico that fell short of this bright line. We are taking action in response, including this explanation of what happened to our readers.”

The articles in question were about transportation issues and did not include fabrication but “unacceptable” borrowing, Harris and VandeHei said. While the troublesome stories date back to July, all but one were published in September and October.

They have since been amended with notes explaining the situation.

The editors’ note was quite clear on Politico’s journalistic standards and how these stories violated them, but Harris and VandeHei still referred to Marr as a “friend and colleague who has produced much outstanding work here and elsewhere.”