Integrity and credibility are the journalist’s most important assets. If you plagiarize, you have compromised the two most important tools a journalist has. Journalism demands originality in writing, sourcing of information that is not common knowledge, attribution of others’ ideas and statements, and accurate representation of points of view. Plagiarism is professional theft. The Emory College Plagiarism Statement says: “Any person who uses a writer’s ideas or phraseology without giving due credit is guilty of plagiarism.”
Plagiarism has ended many journalism careers. The journalist who plagiarizes others’ work violates the very purpose of the profession and destroys his or her reputation. Any student found plagiarizing in a course or internship will be subject to investigation by the Honor Council. If the Honor Council determines that a student has plagiarized, the Council has the prerogative of assigning any of the following penalties:
A journalistic article differs from a research paper. Information in a research paper is credited in footnotes or other kinds of documentation. The Emory College Plagiarism Statement does not require documentation for information that is readily available through several sources and/or is considered common knowledge.
In journalism, source citations are included in the body of the story. The credit should include the name of the person or source, a person’s affiliation, and any other information that provides necessary context. The journalist provides attribution for all direct and indirect quotes and paraphrased information and statements. Quotation marks are used even if only a word or phrase of a statement is used. Journalists attribute to specific individuals, organizations or sources and do not create composite sources.
Both direct quotations and paraphrases require attribution. A good paraphrase expresses the ideas found in the source (for which credit is always given) but not in the same words. It preserves the sense, but not the form, of the original. It does not retain the sentence patterns and merely substitute synonyms for the original words, nor does it retain the original words and merely alter the sentence patterns. It is a genuine restatement. It is briefer than its source. (Floyd D. Watkins and William B. Dillingham, Practical English Handbook, 9th ed. (Boston, 1992), pp. 357-358.)
The principles of attribution apply equally to all forms of newsgathering. Information acquired from other news sources, whether print, broadcast or the Internet, should be attributed. Use of graphics, images, and audio or video material from the Internet or other sources requires full credit.
Plagiarism is a breach of public trust. Journalism professors often use SafeAssign software for plagiarism detection.
The Journalism Program expects students will comply with the policy as outlined above. If you have questions regarding documentation, citation or plagiarism, please contact your instructor.