The blogosphere's abuzz, sorta, with speculation that Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen plagiarized his recent My Word piece in the Times-Standard. The exact same piece, word-for-word, appeared the week before in the Fresno Bee. The Journal called up the EPD for an explanation. Chief Nielsen was not in, but shortly thereafter he issued the following release:
I wish to clarify any confusion that may have arisen from the opinion piece published earlier this week in the Times Standard. This was a position piece adopted by the California Police Chiefs Association. The editorial was distributed to regional directors to be modified for local media and presented as a position supported by local chiefs. This is a common practice that is intended to distribute a consistent position.
I apologize for any confusion this may have caused regarding the authorship of the piece. There was no intent to claim it as original, but rather reflect consensus of opinion of California Chiefs.
We called up Times-Standard Managing Editor Kimberly Wear, who said that when they received the My Word submission from Nielsen, "It didn't say anywhere that it was a position paper." As a general policy, she said, the T-S prefers not to run position papers as My Word submission. Might that have something to do with the definition of the word "My"?