If you’re reading this, it happened again. Right now, an editor may be about to issue an apology or a stern rebuttal. Someone’s reputation and body of work is being scrutinized. And a gaggle of self-appointed fact-checkers may be plugging sentence after sentence into Google for any traces of dishonesty. If you’re reading this, a journalist has been accused of what Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark calls “the unoriginal sin”: plagiarism.
Plagiarism is a serious charge. If true, it has the potential to upend a career and mar a journalist’s reputation for life. And yet, in today’s world of aggregated news, plagiarism is an imprecise word that stands for a spectrum of offenses related to unoriginal work. And its severity varies dramatically depending on a variety of circumstances.… Read more