The principles of journalism are simple: be truthful, be accurate, be independent, be fair, be impartial, be human and be accountable. Our staff strives to meet these goals every day as they write, edit, photograph or copy edit. Keeping the UF community and Alachua County residents informed is a mission of ours; it’s personal.
So is being transparent in our reporting and correcting our mistakes when we need to. In keeping to that, we want to let everyone know of an incident that transpired today.
Last night as we produced our newspaper remotely, our copy desk chief found an unattributed paragraph in a music review that read closely similar to a paragraph in a previously published article outside of The Alligator. We decided not to publish that review.
When this was brought to the attention of the Avenue editors, the managing editors and the editor-in-chief, we decided to go through all of the reporter’s 26 published stories and found that nine of them contain unattributed paragraphs that are verbatim, the same as or closely similar to paragraphs in previously published works outside of The Alligator. The stories range from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020.
This reporter’s actions go against everything we believe in as we fulfill our mission in journalism. The Alligator staff’s reporting, ethical standards and the seriousness of their job are communicated consistently from the moment of hire. Our reporters are constantly reminded of what’s expected of them at every staff meeting, in writing, over the phone, by their desk editors, by us as managers and more.
As a result of what we’ve found and how important it is to uphold our journalistic values, we’ve immediately let go of that reporter, Christopher S. Cann, from The Alligator. We’ve also removed the reporter’s following stories from our website:
Jan. 8, 2020: “Rate and Review: ‘Uncut Gems’”
Feb. 19, 2020: “Rate and Review: Tame Impala ‘The Slow Rush’”
Feb. 26, 2020: “Rate and Review: ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’”
March 23, 2020: “Rate and Review: Jay Electronica's ‘A Written Testimony’”
April 6, 2020: “‘Tiger King’: the docu-series America needed”
Oct. 9, 2019: “Rate and Review: ‘Joker’”
Nov. 6, 2019: “Rate and Review: ‘The Lighthouse’”
Nov. 20, 2019: “Rate and Review: FKA Twigs ‘MAGDALENE’”
Dec. 4, 2019: “Rate and Review: ‘Parasite’”
We’re saddened that this happened. In a time where the globe fights the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t want to take attention away from the important updates that our staff spends hours pursuing for our readers. Despite this incident, The Alligator’s commitment to the mission of journalism and its ethical principles remain the same. It’s important to us; It’s the framework of what we do every day, and it will continue to be.
Christina Morales, Editor-in-Chief
Lina Ruiz, Digital Managing Editor
River Wells, Engagement Managing Editor
Cassandra Perez, Avenue Editor
Nora O’Neill, Digital Avenue Editor