Journalism education and tips for journalists

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I stole this from Steve Outings column e-media tidbits at Poynter-online :-)

Plagiarism Isn't So Easy Any More
While I'm on vacation this week, I'm still checking my e-mail. And yesterday's batch included notice that the most recent column I wrote for Editor & Publisher Online, on the topic of "citizen journalism," had been (allegedly) plagiarized by a blogger, as noted by Steve Rubel. (J.D. Lasica also noted that this same blogger, who goes by the name "Bill" and calls his blog Blogging versus Journalism, allegedly has borrowed the words of Dan Froomkin of and from Lasica's own work.)

What's interesting -- and what prompts me to write this up while on vacation -- is that by the time I learned about this, the offending item had been taken offline by "Bill," thanks to publicity about this episode by Rubel, Lasica, and other bloggers (and people commenting on those blogs). I never saw the apparent plagiarism of my column, but enough other people did -- and wrote about it -- that I trust their accounts.

In other words, it's getting harder to plagiarize on the Web. The Web search engines have long been useful for spotting plagiarism, but it's bloggers publicizing this kind of behavior that can put a quick halt to it.

And what's really sweet, for me as the apparent victim, is that I never had to lift a finger, make a phone call, or write an e-mail to get this person to remove the purloined words. My vacation wasn't interrupted except to write this item. Wow.


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