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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An outdoors writer for The Salt Lake Tribune was fired for a fishing column that contained material "not original to the writer," the newspaper said in a note to readers Tuesday.
An editor's note on the front of the Utah section didn't identify the writer, Skip Knowles, or specify what was wrong with the column that gives tips on where to fish.
"It's a personnel matter. We said what we said. I can't elaborate," Tribune managing editor Tim Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Knowles, who wrote The Hook column, refused to comment. His lawyer, Patrick A. Shea, read a statement that said, "Skip Knowles disagrees with the decision. We are in good-faith negotiations. We hope the results will allow a continued, positive trajectory of his career."
Shea opened talks Monday with Tribune Editor Nancy Conway on Knowles' firing. Conway didn't return a call from the AP.
The full editor's note said:
"It has come to our attention that some material contained in our fishing conditions column, The Hook, on July 16, 2003, was not original to the writer. We regret that our policy on attribution was breached and assure readers that we do not tolerate such lapses. The writer involved has been terminated and we are taking further steps to prevent this from happening in the future."
In April, the Tribune fired its two lead crime reporters after they were paid $10,000 for collaborating on a National Enquirer story about the Elizabeth Smart abduction. The story was later retracted by the tabloid, and the scandal eventually forced the resignation of Tribune editor James E. Shelledy.
A year ago, the Tribune demoted its television columnist for plagiarism. Martin Renzhofer said he "wasn't even thinking" when he lifted a 180-word passage from an Internet site, infoplease.com, about an HBO documentary. "It was bonehead move," he said last July.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)