What is plagiarism?
Candace Perkins Bowen
Kent State University
JEA/NSPA Spring 2014
First, some definitions
“The act of passing off as one’s own the ideas or writings ofanother.”
Appendix to the Honor Council pamphlet,
“Acknowledging the Work of Others,” Georgetown University
“… Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the knowingor intentional failure to attribute language or ideas to theiroriginal source, in the manner required by the academicdiscipline (such as … footnote citations …) or in themanner required by journalism practice (such as byquotation marks and attribution in a journalisticpresentation)…”
Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University,
Policy of Academic Integrity
“The unauthorized use or close imitation of
the language and thoughts of another
author and the representation of them as
one’s own original work.”
The Random House Dictionary
Levels of plagiarism:
Does one size fit all?
Turning in someone else’s work as yours
Leaving out quotation marks for a quote
Not indicating the source of information
Changing words but leaving the structure the
Copying so much of the idea it is no longer
the writer’s work
Is this a big problem?
Penn State supplies students and faculty withPlagiarism Prevention Resources
Plagiarism Tutorials for Students Student tutorial onplagiarism, inappropriate paraphrase, citations andacademic honesty
Plagiarism Detection and Prevention: An Instructor GuideInstructor guide to strategies for detecting and preventingplagiarism in the classroom
Plagiarism Links Links to plagiarism policy pages,guides, quizzes, citation guidelines, basic copyrighthttp://tlt.its.psu.edu/plagiarism
Higher standard for media?
Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in
gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
Professional electronic journalists should operate as
trustees of the public, seek the truth, report it fairly
and with integrity and independence, and stand
accountable for their actions.
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct,
Radio-Television News Directors Association
What do journalists say?
Two things have changed when it comes to new
media technologies and plagiarism: Plagiarism is
much easier to commit. And plagiarism is much
easier to detect. I believe that all news organization
should randomly filter the stories of staffers through
the plagiarism detection software. Kind of like urine
tests for texts….
Is Plagiarism More Likely in the Internet Age?
Roy Peter Clark Talks About
How to Avoid Plagiarism in an Online World
By Tony Rogers, About.com Guide
What about college media?
When you plagiarize, you violate two of the most important standards
we uphold as journalists: honesty and accuracy. This document is to
help you understand the Cronkite School’s standard on plagiarism
and what is expected of you as a Cronkite student.
Plagiarism consists of using someone else’s words, phrases, sentences or ideas
without giving credit. This is true whether you do it intentionally or
Students most often get into trouble when they cut and paste
information from the Internet. There are two main ways to avoid this
and other kinds of plagiarism:
Quote and attribute. Use the exact words in quotation marks and include who
said it or wrote it.
Paraphrase and attribute: Use your own words, but still include who said it or
Walter Cronkite School of JMC
What about the pros?
Jerry Ceppos, former vice president for news
of Knight Ridder and now dean at LSU:
Every American newspaper has a problem with plagiarism.
American journalism schools give ethics instruction short shrift.
(Hynes study: Only half have an ethics course.)
Knight Ridder has a virtually zero-tolerance rule. “We decided --
and this happened at the highest levels -- that when someone is
fired because of plagiarism, when a reference check comes in …
we will say, “the guy was fired for plagiarism.”
Interview with John McManus,
GradeTheNews.com, Jan. 13, 2006
Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald
Plagiarism is one of journalism’s unforgivable sins — and, at this
newspaper, a dismissible offense. Material taken from other
newspapers and other media must be attributed.
San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News
Plagiarism exists in many forms, from the wholesale lifting of
someone else’s writing to the publication of a press release as
news without attribution. The daily newspaper should be an original
work. Do not borrow someone else’s words without attribution.
Sioux Falls (S.D.) Leader
Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise
Plagiarism is the act of lifting the words and work of others and
representing it as one’s own. It will be a firing offense at The
Compiled by the Society of Professional Journalists
‘You can quote me on that….’
Advice on attribution for journalists, by Steve
Buttry, Oct. 31, 2011
MiddletownPress.com article from Patch
“Attribution is one of journalism’s most serious
issues. Plagiarism is inexcusable.”
“How do you know that? Attribution is a key
ingredient in any story’s credibility.”
‘You can quote me on that….’
“When should we attribute? Attribute any
time that attribution strengthens the credibility of
a story. Attribute any time you are using
someone else’s words. Attribute when you are
reporting information gathered by other
journalists. Attribute when you are not certain of
facts. Attribute statements of opinion. When you
wonder whether you should attribute, you
probably should attribute in some fashion.”
What can YOU do about it?
Make expectations clear to staffers
Use a high-tech method to combat? (i.e.
Have clear consequences/policy
F on article?
F for the course?
Kicked off staff? Suspended temporarily?
Write and publish an apology