In the writing community–and any community, really–plagiarism is one of the most heinous crimes that can be committed. It makes the original creator feel violated and can permanently damage the reputation of the writer that plagiarized.
Plagiarizing can be so tempting and, with the age of the internet, amazingly easy. A friend of mine, who will remained unnamed, plagiarized a poem when he was in elementary school for a poetry contest. He actually ended up doing really well and even made regional’s and wasn’t caught because the poem he used was written by “anonymous” on the internet.
With moments like these, where the reward seems to outweigh the cost, it can lead many to want to commit plagiarism, but the cost far outweighs any possible reward.
Getting caught plagiarizing someone’s else’s work as a journalist can be a death sentence. A journalist has to have a career built upon trust between the writer, the editor and the audience. Without that trust, it’s difficult to get someone to read the work.
It’s even harder to build up that trust after it was lost.
Looking at another friend of mine–called J–he was caught plagiarizing but had much harder consequences. Another student copied off of his work at class and the student was caught and implicated him in the plagiarism. Unfortunately for my friend, he had to write a paper on why plagiarism is bad and received a zero on the assignment, in accordance with Penn State’s no tolerance policy.
While it stinks for my friend, I am glad that universities have policies like those in place. The real world is not like an elementary school poetry contest. There are consequences for taking someone else’s work, and they can be really detrimental.
In short, do us all a favor and use your own ideas and don’t make anything up. What you have to say is far more impactful than a regurgitation of someone else’s work.