Plagiarism can destroy a reputation!

Originally posted on September 28, 2012, this video is being republished on October 13th, 2012 because the topic of plagiarism continues to be in the news. That is most unfortunate because it is a type of cheating that can completely destroy someone’s reputation. It can also have a negative impact on future education and career opportunities — particularly if someone is expelled from university or college with a plagiarism notation on their transcript.

Sponsored by, the video, while short and upbeat, does get the message across that the big problem in 2012 is the open nature of the Internet and the temptation to cut and paste information without attributing credit to those who wrote it in the first place.

In the case of the new link provided above, the allegations relate to some of Canada’s recent Refugee Board decisions. Of course, there was also the recent complaints against Globe and Mail journalist Margaret Wente and Fareed Zakaria at CNN.

Visitors can see other videos on how and why to avoid plagiarism — here, here and here.

Avoiding plagiarism using correct citation styles


As indicated in the excerpt, this YouTube video on plagiarism is available courtesy of the virtual campus at Pima Community College, located in Tucson, Arizona.  Called the PCC Community Campus, this particular video is hosted by Dr. B. Baker, the Pima Library Director, and is a formal presentation on the importance of taking good notes and using the right citation style manual when writing university essays.

A Stephen F. Austin State Univ video on unintentional plagiarism


This video, according to the link, which was given at the end of the broadcast, is associated with the Ralph W. Steen library at Stephen F. Austin State University college. The host explains the importance of academic honesty and good documentation, in order to avoid unintentional plagiarism.  It’s short but informative.

Margaret Wente & Carol Wainio: Debating sloppy journalism vs plagiarism

Margaret Wente: Credit Toronto Star

In the case of Margaret Wente and the allegations of plagiarism noted on some 26,700 entries on this Google page, I believe she is responsible for sloppy technique but not actual plagiarism. However, that said, there is definitely another point of view.

For example, read this summary by John Gordon Miller, as well as this one on Paynter by Craig Silverman. Each discuss the entire Wente situation and blogger Carol Wainio’s analysis at Media Culpa.

Wainio is not any basement blogger, as some imply, or as guest columnist Dan Delmar writes  in today’s National Post about those who would complain, a squawking parrot.  Hardly. Rather, she is a visual arts professor at the University of Ottawa and would know as much about plagiarism as I do.

But, that is the thing about dialogue between academics, no matter what discipline we are in. We can debate each other as long as we use sources to support our argument. I definitely disagree, but only about terminology and definitions. Wainio did, afterall, spend years keeping track of Wente’s writings.

So, regarding what is or is not plagiarism, Delmar writes:

“She [Wente] erred in not properly attributing the quote in question, from one Robert Paarlberg, and deserves some form of reprimand. But this isn’t plagiarism in the popular sense of the term; in journalism, it implies dishonesty and theft…Careless and sloppy, definitely.”

The problem is that if what Wente is alleged to have done is plagiarism, then 99.9% of university students would fail and/or be charged with plagiarism. I mean, virtually all students in the first year of their undergraduate programs make mistakes about attributions and footnoting sources. Either they are using the wrong method (e.g., APA instead of Turabian or the MLA Style sheet) or they forget to differentiate between their ideas and the sources. In reality, there are only so many ways to say the same thing.
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