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Posts Tagged ‘attribution’

Ellyn Angelotti photo linked from Twitter

Update: I’ve added a 2011 Dan Gillmor piece on linking at the end of this post. 

Journalists interested in attribution, plagiarism and journalism ethics should read Ellyn Angelotti‘s two-part series about attribution.

Part 1 discusses plagiarism, particularly why journalists should attribute when they use content from press releases:

When deciding whether to publish information that comes via an organization’s official release, it’s important to consider the context of the source. The release could reflect a skewed perspective — or, worse, the information may not be accurate. So by publishing information in a release verbatim, you potentially run afoul of the important ethical value of acting independently and holding those who are powerful accountable.

Additionally, disseminating information published in official releases without additional reporting may not allow for diversity of voices in the conversation, especially on social media. When people recirculate the same information, they contribute to the echo chamber of the existing conversation online, instead of adding new knowledge.

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I will be presenting a webinar on attribution and avoiding plagiarism several times in October for Digital First Media colleagues.

If you haven’t already taken the plagiarism quiz, please do so. I encourage journalists taking the webinar to read the ebook Telling the Truth and Nothing But as well as these blog posts:

I lifted (but attributed) most of this post on plagiarism

You can quote me on that: Advice on attribution for journalists

Our cheating culture: Plagiarism and fabrication are unacceptable in journalism

4 reasons why linking is good journalism; 2 reasons why linking is good business

Plagiarism and Fabrication Summit: Journalists need to use links to show our work

Journalism’s Summer of Sin marked by plagiarism, fabrication, obfuscation by Craig Silverman

How to handle plagiarism and fabrication allegations by Craig Silverman and Kelly McBride

Journalism has an originality problem, not a plagiarism problem by Kelly McBride

ACES moves forward with effort to fight plagiarism by Gerri Berendzen

Here are the slides for the webinar:

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I am working with representatives of several journalism groups on recommendations to help news organizations prevent plagiarism and fabrications. We’d like to know what policies your newsrooms or organizations have relating to these issues.

We’re interested not just in policies that say what the penalties are for ripping stuff off or making it up, but whether you have policies explaining how journalists should attribute the facts and quotes they use (including linking). We’re interested in any policies related to fact-checking, running stories through plagiarism-checking software or random Google checks.

The presidents of the American Copy Editors Society and the Society of Professional Journalists committed to a plagiarism “summit” next spring, after a summer when offenses were so plentiful that Craig Silverman called it journalism’s “summer of sin.” Several other journalism organizations have joined the discussions: Associated Press Media EditorsOnline News AssociationAmerican Society of News EditorsCanadian Association of JournalistsRadio-Television Digital News AssociationCollege Media AdvisersLocal Independent Online News Publishers and perhaps others (I’ll update the list if I learn of others).

I am representing ONA and Digital First Media in the discussions. I am pleased that we’re focusing not just on plagiarism and fabrication, but on proper attribution. We have divided the work into three topics: defining plagiarism and fabrication, prevention and response. I am in the group focusing on prevention. (more…)

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Journalism values are not timeless and etched in stone. Values have changed through the years and the digital-first journalist recognizes that they are changing today.

In some ways, a digital-first journalist shares the values of traditional journalism but may pursue them in different ways. In other ways, we pursue values that we think are more appropriate for the networked world we work in today.

We won’t entirely agree on values. Where we share values, we may vary in priority and practice. Digital-first leaders trust our journalists and the editors leading our newsrooms to make smart, ethical decisions. So don’t view this as a narrow template into which we must squeeze our journalism or as unanimously held views. These are some thoughts on values that guide journalists — how they are changing and how they endure. I share these views to stimulate discussion about digital-first values because I believe we value candid and vigorous discussion about journalism and journalism values.

I am examining and explaining digital-first journalism in a series of blog posts this week. I started yesterday with a discussion of how digital-first journalists work. Today I address the values that guide digital-first journalists: (more…)

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I have been meaning to post more of my old workshop handouts from No Train, No Gain to this blog. Unfortunately, I was prompted to post this one and another, about cheating, by a plagiarism incident at the Middletown Press. I encourage all of my Journal Register Co. and MediaNews Group colleagues to read this. Attribution is one of journalism’s most serious issues. Plagiarism is inexcusable.

Attribution is the difference between research and plagiarism. Attribution gives stories credibility and perspective. It tells readers how we know what we know. It also slows stories down. Effective use of attribution is a matter both of journalism ethics and of strong writing.

How do you know that? Attribution is a key ingredient in any story’s credibility. Readers are entitled to know where we got our information. If we are citing official statistics gathered by a government agency, that tells the readers something. If we are citing the contentions of an interest group or a political partisan, that tells the readers something else. If we don’t attribute our information, readers rightly wonder how we know that.

When should we attribute? Attribute any time that attribution strengthens the credibility of a story. Attribute any time you are using someone else’s words. Attribute when you are reporting information gathered by other journalists. Attribute when you are not certain of facts. Attribute statements of opinion. When you wonder whether you should attribute, you probably should attribute in some fashion. (more…)

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I really don’t have time to write a full blog post today. I’m wrapping up one job and getting ready to launch another, and I don’t have time for the thought, writing and rewriting that an original blog post requires.

So I think I’ll lift most of my material from others or recycle from things I’ve written before. This is all OK, because my topic is plagiarism.

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