In a handful of pieces for Youth Journalism International during the past nine months, a 19-year-old Serbian teen, Milica Cvetkovic, stole online photographs that were not her own, provided them to YJI with fake captions and passed them off as her own work.
We have removed five offending articles from Ms. Cvetkovic because we could no longer trust that any of them were her own work.
This came to our attention today as we checked on pictures she submitted that she claimed were of young people helping refugees in Belgrade. Once we determined they were not hers, we looked back on her earlier work and discovered several more photographs clearly taken by others that she provided to YJI as hers.
Ms. Cvetkovic has denied doing anything wrong, though the evidence is overwhelming. What she did is prohibited under any journalistic standard and by YJI’s own rules. We have expelled her from Youth Journalism International.
To our readers, we can only say this should not have occurred. We try hard to ensure the integrity of what YJI publishes.
That this type of journalistic misconduct has happened to far larger news organizations does not make it less painful for us.