What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a very serious offense. Every employee in our newsrooms needs to be fully aware of what practices are not acceptable by our journalistic ideal, and by our readers' expectations. The purpose of this quiz is to gauge what you know about plagiarism and attribution standards in the digital age. We need to evaluate what practices require re-enforcement and what training we need to provide you with as a representative of our company.
Plagiarism as defined by Dictionary.com: "The unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work, as by not crediting the author."
For further reading on plagiarism and attribution, we recommend the following:
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News outlet you represent
Question 1: In your reporting on a story, you come across a story from another newspaper’s website that explains pretty well what happened. You have already verified these facts, but you like this explanation, so you decide to use an extensive passage from the story in your story. Which of the following is the appropriate ways to attribute:
No attribution, link or quotation marks needed.
Attribute to “media reports.”
Attribute but do not link.
Attribute but do not quote.
Link but do not attribute.
Attribute to the news outlet or website by name, link to the other site and use quotation marks or an indented block quote to note where you are using the other story’s exact words.
Question 2: In your reporting on a story, you find a story on a competing news organization’s website that has a good quote from a key figure in the story who has declined your interview request. You decide to use the quote in your story. Choose the correct way to attribute.
Use the quote, saying the speaker said it to “reporters.”
Attribute to the news organization by name and link to the other site.
Link to the story but do not mention the competing organization.
Attribute but do not link.
Use the quote, attributing to the speaker but not the news organization.
Question 3: In your reporting for a story, you find a blog that includes a clear sequence of events. You have verified the facts reported in the blog, and this is the clearest explanation you've heard. You want to use this sequence in your story. What is the proper way to use this information.
It’s OK to use the passage verbatim because it’s just a blog, and not a recognized news organization.
If you reword slightly, it’s OK to use the passage.
Use the passage verbatim, attributing it to “a blog.”
Attribute to the blog by name and link to the blog, whether you quote or paraphrase. Use quotation marks if you are using the blog’s exact words.
Use the passage verbatim, linking but not mentioning the blog.
Question 4: An organization on your beat sends you a press release. You decide the information in the press release is newsworthy. Which is the correct way to use the press release:
Use the press release verbatim and publish it under your byline without attribution to the organization. After all, the organization only wants publicity, not credit. It sent you the release hoping you’d publish it.
Quote some or all of the press release verbatim, attributing it to a press release from the organization and providing a link, if the release is available online.
Verify the facts independently and write your own story, possibly using and attributing a few quotes from the release.
Question 5: You are assigned to aggregate content from other media on a topic. Which is the right way to use content from other media in carrying out this assignment?
Cut and paste the best quotes and facts that you find into your story and publish them as your work without attribution, using photos that you find on the other sites.
Publish an entire story on your site with attribution and a link.
Publish brief excerpts (1-3 paragraphs) from stories that you aggregate, linking to the stories. Seek permission to use any photos that you want to include.
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