Plagiarism: The Offense That Keeps On Repeating

Saying it has “discovered multiple instances of plagiarism by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former CNN news editor,” the cable news network said today that it has terminated her employment.

Poynter has done some digging and reports that most of the material Gumuchian allegedly lifted came from Reuters, where she previously worked.

What do we say about plagiarism? Let’s go to the handbook:

“Plagiarism – taking someone else’s work and intentionally presenting it as if it is your own – is theft. … Our standard is to make clear to our audience where the information we bring them comes from.

“That means no material from another source should ever be included verbatim, or substantially so, without attribution. This includes material from Associated Press reports. We do not, for example, produce news ‘spots’ or other pieces that closely resemble wire service stories. NPR’s standard is that our writing should be our own. There is no excuse for writing that repeats the wire stories that we use word-for-word, or nearly so.

“It also means that whenever we present someone’s words verbatim in text, we encase them within quotes or, in an audio report, make it clear that we are using the source’s wording. If we paraphrase for space or clarity, we transparently credit the source of the ideas. And we don’t lightly edit quotes just to avoid putting them in quotes; we use brackets, ellipses and other signals to make clear we’ve changed what someone said.”

There’s also good material in this Poynter piece: “How to handle plagiarism and fabrication allegations.”

(Memmos, May 16, 2014)

May 16, 2014

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