Last semester, we have this group presentation addressing different topics about journalism. There is one about journalism fraud, which left deep impression to me. While learning, I’ve had a Chinese old saying lingering on my mind: The day has eyes, the night has ears. Don’t ever expect the fake stays under the blanket. I know that some journalists tend to persuade or console themselves when cheating since plagiarism is, indeed the grey zone. It’s hard to define so it’s hard to decide. But when I listened to my classmates’ presentation that time, I thought, when you know it, you know it.
Probably because I’m not a journalist now, not yet; so I can say this without further consideration: When I do my research on this topic, I think everything appeared so apparent. It’s neither coincidence nor incaution that are excuse for plagiarism; it’s all self-inflicted. In the Jason Blair case, he stated pretty clear that he was the one who caused the situation in the conference after the scandal. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFePfsBlocA) Also for Stephen Glass, who commits one of the most heinous hoaxes in journalism history, took the wrong path with full caution. It’s no easy to find any excuse for a man who wrote 42 fictional articles for 2 ½years.(http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/opinion/nocera-glasss-road-to-redemption.html?_r=1&) Janet Cooke’s Jimmy’s world fooled both the editors and the Pulitzer board. She apologized to “all seekers of the truth”. (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bradlee/background_cooke.html)
Although I hold such an absolute opinion toward plagiarism, when I read the Plagiarism Committee Report, I swung. The biggest confusion I have in the report is the rules part. Based on personal experience, I tend to lose my confidence when writing serious reports and I can’t control to read others to inform me as an instructions. I knew journalist do take notes from sources before writing. But in the report, saying “Some writing coaches suggest that you write through the story without notes at first”. I take notes all the time and I have to admit that notes do affect your own inspirations unintentionally. For my stage now, I can’t really get rid of the notes; sources help me to gain a general sense to what I’m about to write. I somehow found my articles reflect some similarities as my sources. How can I stay away from plagiarism and those strong effects without giving up notes?