A popular Detroit Free Press reporter is accused of plagiarizing an article but continues to write for the newspaper.
Sports reporter Drew Sharp wrote a story on Dec. 15 that was strikingly similar to one written five days earlier by iSportsWeb about a quadriplegic football fan’s connection with Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.
“The similarities between Sharp’s article and the (David) Harns piece are striking, and with good reason,” wrote Detroit Sports Rag, which first revealed the plagiarism. “Drew Sharp stole the Harns story and presented it as his own.”
When the Free Press was alerted to the similarities between the two stories, an editor’s note was added to the top of Sharp’s story and attributions were added throughout: “This story has been updated to appropriately attribute some key details to stories that originally appeared on isportsweb.com by David Harns.”
According to the Detroit Sports Rag, the Free Press offered to pay Harns “for his unintended contributions to Sharp’s story,” but Harns requested the money be donated to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which has connections to the football fan.
The Free Press agreed to double the donation, Detroit Sports Rag wrote.
“What they did not do was either suspend or terminate Sharp, who has had several columns published since his plagiarism of Harns came to light,” Detroit Sports Rag reported.
Neither the Free Press nor Sharp responded to our requests for comment.
Note: Motor City Muckraker reporter Steve Neavling was fired from the Detroit Free Press in April 2012 for allegedly quoting then-Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh off the record at a public council meeting.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.