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Posts Tagged ‘plagiarism’

Plagiarism and Attribution Tests for Journalists: A Must or Not?


If there’s anything journalists know, it’s how not to plagiarize in our writing. Right? Right?! Wrong, apparently.

Wednesday Jim Romenesko broke the news on his blog that Digital First Media (DFM) has been having some issues with their reporters failing to attribute sources correctly in their work and as a result, their leadership team is asking everyone to take a “plagiarism and attribution quiz.” In a memo from Steve Buttry to DFM staff members, Digital Transformation Editor Buttry wrote that there had been “too many plagiarism cases recently in DFM newsrooms” (read the full memo, first published by Romenesko, here).

On top of the five-question quiz, reporters will have to complete a webinar regarding Web journalism and ethics. In the staff note, Buttry cited DFM’s reputation, “integrity” and “standards” as reasons to encourage all DFM journalists to go through the quick training.

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Is There Life After Plagiarism And Fabrication? Not For Stephen Glass

Stephen Glass, a former The New Republic reporter who gained notoriety for fabricating dozens of stories in the mid-90s, is making headlines once again. This time, it’s because California’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether Glass is morally fit to be a lawyer in the state. 

Glass is not the first or last reporter to be fired for crimes of plagiarism and lying. His life, of course, must continue after the scandal. Others have done it. Jayson Blair, the New York Times wonderboy who was fired for plagiarizing work in 2003, has gone on to become a certified life coach and counselor. Another former employee of the Gray Lady, Zachery Kouweresigned from the paper in 2010 after complaints he plagiarized business stories and is now a public relations professional. (His website even says he’s written for the paper.)

After being tarnished with the plagiarism brush, you probably won’t be hired as a journalist again. But you can go down other avenues and be successful. So why has Glass chosen to go into law, a field where his past moral ambiguity is clearly going to be questioned?

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Poynter Editor: Jim Romenesko’s Posts Have “Incomplete Attribution” But Aren’t Plagiarism

Poynter editor Julie Moos has announced that many posts written by its highly respected columnist/blogger Jim Romenesko, founder of the Romenesko blog, “exhibit a pattern of incomplete attribution.” Namely, the  posts in question “included the original author’s verbatim language without containing his or her words in quotation marks, as they should have.”

The Romenesko blog is one of the most well-known, and revered, blogs in the industry and read daily by journalists everywhere. Romenesko, who has now resigned who is semi-retiring, has been around for years and is looked up to by many. So this announcement was very surprising.

Moos is very careful not to use the P-word — plagiarism — in the post. I emailed her to ask her why she didn’t consider Romenesko’s actions to be plagiarism. Her response:

“Jim’s intent was to credit the source and his posts do that with a source line and at least one link back to the original material, often more. He is transparent about where the information originated, he just missed a step by failing to signal the reader with quotation marks when verbatim text was being used. Others are free to characterize it how they wish, I don’t characterize it as plagiarism, which usually involves an intent to deceive.” Read more