Media Spotlight On “Journalist” Janet Rowland

Former Republican Lt. Governor Candidate accused of plagiarism

Janet Rowland, once considered a rising star in the Colorado Republican Party, has been hit with a few meteors recently. Mesa County Commissioner Rowland–and once Bob Beauprez’s running mate–has been a volunteer reporter for several Grand Junction media. However, Rowland, as a member of the press, has had problems staying out of the press.Rowland is a frequent guest columnist at the Grand Junction Free Press, a competitor of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Her last story caught the attention of a Daily Sentinel reader who noticed Rowland had copied her article word for word from another publication without attributing the source.

The Daily Sentinel reported:

A Mesa County official has plagiarized a government substance abuse booklet in her two most recent columns in the Grand Junction Free Press, that newspaper’s editor confirmed Friday.

The majority of Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland’s Feb. 1 column in the Free Press, titled “The importance of a strong parent-child bond,” was lifted verbatim from a 2006 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication titled, “Making a Difference: Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol.”

A reading of Rowland’s unattributed column and the text of the booklet revealed the two are virtually identical. The only differences were found in the column’s first sentence and its lead into several bullet points.

The editor said if Rowland had been a staff writer, she probably would have been fired.

Additionally, there has been controversy over her reporting duties covering the legislature and her good friend, Sen. Josh Penry for a Grand Junction TV station.

Because Rowland was Penry’s campaign manager and she is being mentioned as a challenger against Rep. Bernie Buescher in 2008 and since the TV news director’s husband is active in the Mesa County Republican Party, a Daily Sentinel article noted that Rowland’s arrangement with KKCO is breaking with journalistic ethics.

Another example of Rowland’s penchant for the media headlines happened last month. The Mesa County Commissioners fired their human services director who promptly took his case to the public in a “letter to the editor” in the The Daily Sentinel.

During my tenure at DHS, I found myself in almost constant conflict with County Commissioners Craig Meis and Janet Rowland.

The source of the conflict, in my opinion, was their desire to inappropriately use the department to further their own personal or political goals. Often, the “directives” that I received, again in my opinion, seemed designed to gain photo ops, build a political resume or settle personal scores, whims or ideology. I could not ethically or professional support those types of directives.

Going back to 2006, shortly after Beauprez had selected Rowland for Lt. Governor on his ticket, her response about gay marriages, “Should we allow a man to marry a sheep?” on a PBS TV show exploded on the blogs and media. That might have helped blast the Beauprez gubernatorial campaign into a black hole.

Will Rowland’s journalistic career crater as fast as her political future seems to be rocketing into outer space?

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About the Author

Leslie Robinson

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