Plagiarism: Know what it is, because B/R’s policy is zero tolerance
In the last few days, we’ve had to revoke writing privileges for two writers because of plagiarism.
I just want to reiterate to our writers that Bleacher Report has a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism, which is the passing off of the words or ideas of others as your own.
We take this issue very seriously and we don’t slap wrists. If you’re caught, we revoke your writing privileges and delete all of your old articles.
And this is the Internet. We have filters in place to find plagiarized content, we have a large, attentive audience and, let’s face it, we have critics who are only too happy to pounce on our mistakes.
In other words: If you plagiarize, you will be caught.
Bleacher Report featured columnists work really hard. They write a lot, accept assignments and turn them around rapidly, follow search trends and create pieces quickly in response.
We very much appreciate how much effort it takes to do this. It’s what makes Bleacher Report go. But we simply can’t allow our writers to cut corners by plagiarizing others’ work. It’s stealing, plain and simple, and it’s wrong.
So now’s a good time to brush up on what plagiarism is. This blog post from last month, mostly written by B/R copy chief Dan Bonato, contains an excellent rundown, so good, in fact, that it’s worth reviewing here:
According to Plagiarism.org, all of the following are considered plagiarism:
Turning in someone else’s work as your own Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules).
As Plagiarism.org notes, “Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided by citing sources.”
Bleacher Report writers must be diligent when it comes to citing quotes and other content from their sources. Every time.
Here are some rules for B/R writers:
1. When quoting, paraphrasing or alluding to something written/reported by another writer, each reference must be clearly attributed to its source.
2. When sources are available online (most sources are these days), you must link your content to them.
3. When quoting an interview you conducted, or a press conference you attended, make it known to the reader.
It’s worth an extra note to say that copying from Wikipedia is still plagiarism. Its open-source nature does not make it a storehouse of writing that you can use without attribution.
Of course very few Bleacher Report writers ever plagiarize. The vast, vast majority wouldn’t dream of it, and a solid percentage of those who do go over the line do so out of ignorance rather than dishonesty.
That’s why we want to make it clear not only that we won’t tolerate plagiarism, but what plagiarism is.