In today’s society, the Internet has become a staple in the lives of Americans for information, entertainment and social networking. The term “google it” has even become a popular phrase for people with unanswered questions. Even though the Internet is a very helpful tool, it also has the potential to detrimentally harm our society by allowing plagiarism to occur so easily.
Before the invention of the Internet, articles were only able to be read in physical newspapers. But now, the majority of newspapers have online websites and link their posts through sites like Facebook and Twitter. Journalists are able to write from their home computers and have a global identity with the major advances in technology. With the overwhelming amount of readers, articles are now more available to be plagiarized.
The Ledger addressed the issue of the Internet throughout their discussion on plagiarism. The newspaper talked about how if you base your stories around data that you find on the Internet, you have a very high chance of plagiarizing. This could not only result in losing your credibility as a journalist, but also your permanent job in the media field. I’m personally very leery about relying on the Internet because anyone can write/edit websites.
This summer, I was the journalist for my town’s local website, EllwoodCity.org. It was actually pretty funny because as an 18-year-old journalist, I never thought that my work would be plagiarized. But at least once a week, I would open up the the Ellwood City Ledger, my town’s local newspaper, to find an article almost identical to mine. Of course, I am not technically a professional journalist yet, so I basically just let it slide. It really made the idea of plagiarism real to me. It sucked not getting any credit for my hard work and ideas.
I am now super cautious of plagiarism when I write any article. I try to gather all my own information without using the Internet or any other articles to keep myself from the risk. I prefer to get material for my stories straight from the source. If I’m forced to use the Internet, I just make sure to give credit when it is needed. When in doubt, attribute! I’d rather play it safe than sorry because I know how it feels to have my work taken.
I feel like The Ledger took so much time to talk about the one piece because in reality, it ended up creating set in stone plagiarism rules for all future pieces. I think their process was extremely effective because now they will have no unanswered questions the next time this occurs in the work place. Journalists now have pretty solid guidelines to follow that will hopefully make them extra cautious when using the Internet and about plagiarism in general.