Should newsrooms set copycat traps?
By Ann Hui
Universities do it. So do many job recruiters.
But should newsrooms subscribe to plagiarism detection services?
The issue of plagiarism amongst journalists has received big play in the news recently, with Daily Beast writer Gerald Posner admitting in February that he'd "inadvertently" lifted from the Miami Herald. Less than a week later, New York Times reporter Zachary Kouwe was suspended and later resigned for allegedly copying from the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.
At first--at least for some--the solution seemed obvious: subscribe to plagiarism-detection software.
But, writes Craig Silverman, freelance journalist and author of Regret the Error, it's not quite that simple. Recently, Silverman blogged for J-Source about the double standard behind why many newsrooms are reluctant to subscribe to such software.
According to Silverman:
"Surprisingly, it turns out that newsrooms are more interested in finding out who's stealing their content online than making sure the content they publish is original." (Read Silverman's full post here)
He cites cost and workflow issues as just some of the reasons why newsrooms are dragging their heels on checking their own work. Yet, he argues, those same newsrooms are happy and willing to invest time and money into services ensuring that others aren't plagiarizing their own work.
Ann Hui is a Radio Room reporter at the Star. She's also completing her final year of the master of journalism program at Ryerson University. email@example.com