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Harvard editorial cartoonist accused of plagiarism (UPDATED)

The Harvard Crimson’s editorial cartoonist, Kathleen Breeden’s editorial cartoons are coming under scrutiny for possible plagiarism.  An unnamed individual informed the the newspaper Saturday and pointed out the similarities of her work with those on Cagle.com.  In question are four cartoons published on September 22nd and October. 11, 18 and 25th.

Here is the links to her work and those she’s accused of copying:
Breeden’s Sep 22 and Monte K. Wolverton’s published on or about Sept. 18.
Breeden’s Oct 11 and Daryl Cagle’s cartoon posted on February 10
Breeden’s Oct 18 and Steve Breen’s cartoon appears on Cagle’s site on July 14
Breeden’s Oct 25 and Walt Handelsman’s Oct 12 cartoon

No date was mentioned regarding when the investigation might wrap up or what may happen to Breeden if it is found that she was “copying heavily.”

UPDATE:  It’s now being reported that The Harvard Crimson has retracted two of the cartoons in question and have discontinued the cartoonist’s series as the two cartoons were “apparent plagiarism.”

“After investigating the similarities, the editorial chairs and I have decided to discontinue Kathleen’s cartoon series,” Crimson President William C. Marra ’07 wrote in an e-mail. “I am very disappointed with the two incidents of apparent plagiarism and improper source citation that we’ve come across recently. I am working closely with the editorial board to institute new policies and strengthen existing ones that will prevent any future occurrence of plagiarism.”

I’m not sure how often these acts are done at the college level. I would not be surprised if it happens much more than what is reported.  I remember seeing the portfolio of a Locher Award winner and noticing a cartoon that looked almost like he traced an earlier cartoon by Jeff MacNelly that was published in a Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year book. I don’t know if anyone ever called him on it nor do I know if it was an isolated incident.  One would think it’s easier for college students to fall in to the act of copying simply because they’re more apt to expose themselves to a wide variety of cartoonists as they study different artist’s work. That certainly doesn’t excuse the infraction, but then again when you look at Cagle.com and see a large number of cartoonists drawing Kim Jong Il with his hair like a mushroom cloud – are the professionals really setting the example of trying to avoid publishing something that hasn’t already been done or ideas so incredibly simple that just about everyone else is going to do the same thing?

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
October/30/2006
@ 9:16 pm

Daryl Cagle talks about it in his blog:

http://cagle.com/news/blog/

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