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Why Plagiarize?

by on November 8, 2016

Plagiarism is a topic, at least in my schooling, that is address as early as middle school.  Teachers not only have students submit papers to online plagiarism checkers like turnitin.com, but in my experience have also had serious consequences for those found guilty of the action. From giving them a failing grade on the assignment, to having them write an additional paper illustrated why plagiarizing is bad, in my experience, there were many efforts to prevent it from happening.

I think in combination with this prevention, explanation on why plagiarizing is bad is also a crucial step. For me, morally, it is just not something I would ever do, aside from the fact that I may or may not receive a failing grade. It is either taking someone else’s work and using it as your own or completely making up something that is false. I think anyone can make up a story, but it takes true talent to report an actual even that occurred, interview all of the sources, and paint a non-bias account of what happened.

While teachers and even news companies might ingrain the fact that plagiarism is bad, whether or not someone does, in my opinion, it comes down to a sense of morals.  This can be seen in the piece, Jimmy’s World by Jane Cooke, where she completely fabricates the entire story of a child heroin addict.  It is also seen with Stephen Glass, who “fabricated dozens of stories in the mid-90’s making headlines.”  In both of these cases large amount of plagiarism was occurring, making me wonder how the authors could not see doing so as wrong.  Even in the class room setting, when students attempt to plagiarize an essay, how do they think they won’t get caught?

Perhaps Cooke and Glass did this to gain recognition towards their writing through seemingly enhancing their pieces with fake detail. Maybe they also think that there is no real way to prove their lies, as there are no records of these thing even happening. I am wondering though, why these great journalists feel like risking their careers and credibility for a plagiarized piece?  Separating creative writing from reporting is also a crucial realization. Both of these authors might have written great stories, however, it would be important to note that they are great stories, not actual events.

 

 

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One Comment
  1. Plagiarism is a tough concept to grasp for journalists who do their work and reporting on their own and do not fabricate materials. I completely agree with you when you say that morals play a role when it comes to plagiarism. Now, with the technology we have, it is extremely hard to plagiarize so I’m not sure why people still try. Now, given the world we live in, where most claims can be debunked by anyone thanks to the internet, editors take serious measures to ensure that their reporters work is air tight.
    Another reason that some journalists may turn to plagiarism is pressure. There is a lot of pressure on writers or journalists to find an engaging and exciting story. Sometimes, when they want a story to be exciting, they stretch the truth. In my opinion, it would be better to have the story be a little more dry then have it be false.
    Hopefully future journalists will learn from the mistakes of those who have tarnished their name and ruined their careers after plagiarizing a piece.

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