Neil Harman is a longtime tennis correspondent for The Times of London. In 2007 he was named the British Sports News Reporter of the Year and he also served as co-president of the International Tennis Writers Association.
He is also a serial plagiarist.
It’s come to light in recent days that Harman has accomplished some of the worst plagiarism seen since Dino Costa in his work on the Official Wimbledon Annual. Harman has written the club-sponsored magazine for the last decade. Well, at least he’s copied and pasted work from other writers and put it in the magazine.
As chronicled by several news outlets this week, there are dozens of examples of Harman’s plagiarism in the last few years of the Wimbledon Annual alone. Slate‘s Ben Rothenberg has the best summary of the offenses on display.
The author found a total of 52 examples of plagiarism in just the last three years of the Wimbledon Annual. Fifty! Two! What’s more, Harman didn’t even bother to correct one typographical error in lifting a passage from Sports Illustrated. Other outlets that had their work stolen include the Guardian and the New York Times:
Of these 52 examples, 28 of the passages were lifted from the Guardian. Six were from the New York Times, five from either the Times of London or the Sunday Times, four from Sports Illustrated, four from the Telegraph, four from the Independent, and one from the New York Daily News. In two additional cases, Harman borrowed from his own previously published work. I didn’t count these among his 52 instances of plagiarism.
While some of the examples I found were as short as a single borrowed sentence, the majority spanned multiple paragraphs, usually with no attribution whatsoever.
Harman is quoted in Slate as accepting the mistakes that he made in lifting other people’s work, but there’s a great peculiarity to some of his quotes, like this one:
As you can imagine, I’m utterly, utterly shocked by the whole thing,” he told me. “It’s left me numb.” He said he “had no idea of the extent to which I have unfairly used other people’s words.”
He’s shocked? He had no idea of the extent of his plagiarism? Dude, you were the one who did this. It’s not like some otherworldly creature came and took over Neil Harman’s body for the sole purpose of stealing Wimbledon stories from newspapers. It’s like Lex Luthor being surprised over his many attempts to destroy Superman. It’s totally preposterous! Harman also tweeted this after the evidence came to light:
It’s amazing to think that someone who works in sportswriting could think he would get away with that kind of serious plagiarism spanning a number of years without anyone noticing. Sure, nobody is probably reading through the Official Wimbledon Annual with a fine-toothed comb looking for copy and paste jobs. But wouldn’t you think that one of those writers, leafing through the magazine, would stop and notice that a passage Harman wrote looked suspiciously similar to their work? Especially considering Harman plagiarized from so many different sources.
It’s just another cautionary tale of not being able to sweep your transgressions under the rug forever. Harman claims in his Twitter profile that he’s had 40 years in journalism. You would think he’d know better than this.