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Plagiarism in journalism

Plagiarism is a crime. It is stealing another person’s work and offering it as one’s own. Or it could be the act of using text fragments of other authors without references. In addition, plagiarism is a violation of the Ethical Code of the Professional Journalists Society. Many journalists lost their jobs or encountered legal action because they stole somebody’s text or idea.

What is plagiarism in the news?

News plagiarism — an event where a journalist uses content from other mass media and signs it with his name or doesn’t state that the content is borrowed. This regards ideas, text, writing style, photos, images, and videos.
Also, media plagiarism occurs when a journalist repeatedly uses his own article. Since he sold his author rights to another edition, self-plagiarism counts as theft.
It is always recommended to state the sources. An article might contain factual errors or incorrect data. By failing to state the original, the journalist promotes misconceptions.
News outlets stick to several must-dos when making references to their colleagues, e.g.:
  • A direct link to the source article or content;
  • Stating the journalist’s or company’s name;
  • Noting the general source, general info, e.g., “A number of news outlets stated”.
Either way, stating the source of the content is regarded as ethical, safe, and lawful. Most news outlets do not accept plagiarism in any of its forms. Even if a few lines were quoted from Wikipedia, this is not allowed, despite the fact that Wikipedia allows recurrent use and sharing of its content.
A plagiarizing journalist places his media company, newspaper, or client at reputational risk. People that detect plagiarism will confront the company.
Plagiarism can be accidental. This happens when a journalist uses many references but forgets to specify the author or unintendedly repeats somebody else’s phrases or thoughts in his text. Even if that’s the case, the journalist is still responsible. His lack of attention when checking his work for plagiarism can potentially risk the client’s reputation.

Consequence of plagiarism in journalism

The consequences of plagiarism in journalism could be disastrous for a journalist:
  • Reputational damage. In the journalism business world, information regarding incompetent authors that plagiarize spreads like wildfire. Editors and clients won’t want to deal with those that steal other people’s content.
  • Unemployment. Reputation loss can affect not only the one who conducted plagiarism but also all those who are in some way connected to stealing content. When a company learns of plagiarism on the side of its employees, it has the right to fire them.
  • Court. If a company or authors carry financial loss due to plagiarism, they have the right to take legal action. Punishment for plagiarism comes in the form of fines. Yet, some aggravated cases could result in 5-10 years of incarceration.
  • SEO damage. Google algorithms don’t give good search results for those websites that don’t have original content. As a result, clients don’t navigate the web resource, and the company loses income.

How to avoid journalistic plagiarism?

Several recommended methods can help journalists avoid plagiarism:
  1. Don't use copy + paste. If you need to insert someone's words, specify their name and workplace.
  2. Create your original content. Promoting your ideas and theses helps minimize plagiarism.
  3. Specify your employer/client's terms concerning plagiarism. While some outlets don't mind using information from open sources without the need to state the original, others prohibit it.
  4. If you use synonyms or rephrase generalized content, add your own ideas and opinions. That will make the content more original, new, and interesting for the readers.
  5. Store your research and study material in a separate file. Don't forget to highlight that content, so you won't forget where the text fragments came from.
  6. Before handing your work to the editor or client, use plagiarism-checking services. Skandy is an accurate and reliable tool.
Using an online plagiarism checker will help protect your content from plagiarism allegations. The checker's reports are stored in an online cloud disk and can be provided as proof of originality if requested. Large companies and educational institutions trust the checker results.
The checker operates based on AI technology. It can:
  • Detect potential plagiarism and paraphrasing in several languages;
  • Conduct deep analysis of billions of open-source databases;
  • Work with various file formats, including .pdf, as well as check documents and articles via URL;
  • Scan and check the text on a hard disk using OCR technology;
  • Check within a couple of minutes. You don't need to spend much time ensuring your work is OG.
Skandy displays a detailed report on all borrowed text fragments and provides sources with identical phrasing. Also, our checker helps avoid self-plagiarism. For example, this is handy when an outlet places an order for an article, but you've already written a similar one for another mass media agency.
The tool can be used after publishing your original content to detect illegal media plagiarism on behalf of other journalists.
The check lets you take measures quickly and hold a dishonest company or a website owner accountable.
Use Skandy to protect your clients' reputations and give them confidence that your work is original!
Text author: Columbia Proof

October 12th 2022


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