Plagiarism is ethically reprehensible in the journalism world and is a violation of the University of Texas at Arlington’s student code of conduct. Plagiarizing – or using someone else’s thoughts and words as your own – affects your job and your academic status.
“Geez, Beth,” you’re wondering. “Duh. We know that.”
Before you blow off this note, consider the following:
- Taking a sentence or a quote from a press release and not citing the press release is plagiarism.
- Using a concept or thought from a person, website or other published material without attribution to that person is plagiarism.
- Making slight variations in the language and then failing to give credit to the source is plagiarism.
Why is this important? As journalists, you gather material from a number of places … and those people gather information from a number of places. Ultimately, you are responsible for checking your own writing and anything you quote people saying.
Here are some resources to help you:
- The UTA Library has a plagiarism tutorial.
- This handy link is a plagiarism tool that will do a deep Google search for short paragraphs you enter in its search bar. Plagiarism Checker.
- This is the university’s Academic Integrity page.
I’d suggest running a check for quotes you use, portions of stories, commentary from outside contributors, and any time you get a queasy feeling or wonder, “is this plagiarism?”
To better journalism,