MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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And I’ll Get Expelled for Plagiarism?

Alright, so here’s the thing, journalists are flat out admitting that not only did they not check their facts in regards to this Wikipedia quote by Shane Fitzgerald but they flat out lifted it from the site. So there are professionals, who went through what can only be assumed as four years of rigorous university training, at least, to become the truth breeders of the world, directly copying fake quotes, and I’m going to get kicked out of school if I forget to put a quotation mark around three words that were directly from a book even though “if the” are the first three words. Really?

Don’t get me wrong, I never have nor ever will in my life take someone else’s’ work and call it my own. Not to sound arrogant, but I believe I’m above that. To be blatantly honest I think expulsion is a great consequence for plagiarizers. What I want to know is what the media is going to do about their slack reporters who pull an obviously “too good to be true”, as Fitzgerald puts it, quote off of a communal encyclopedia and call it a conclusion. I’m sorry, but if I’m going to spend the majority of my university years worrying about where to put the right comma to ensure I’m not a word thief, then a simple Britney Spears style “Oops, we did it again,” doesn’t do it for me.

I guess it all really comes back to what we talked about in class, questioning everything we read. I have a friend who graduated from King’s College with a degree in English. When I commented on the unbelievable amount of reading for some of her classes and asked her if she really had to read it all to follow along in class she told me this, “Probably not. But I do the reading because I realized that if I didn’t then I would simply be accepting someone else’s point of view on the material without discovering if it was actually my own or not.” She’s a brilliant girl to begin with, but after that I made sure to do all my class readings. The point is, she taught me that despite the fact that her professor is supposed to be an “authority” she wanted to make sure that she knew for herself that the source knew what they were talking about. Perhaps our journalists could take a lesson from Heather Thomson.


June 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. What a good point Dee! I think we could all learn a lesson from Heather Thomson. I’m thankful for the professors I’ve had during university and for the most part I’ve trusted their judgement. But now you’ve got me thinking about all the articles I chose not to read (for lack of time, interest or motivation) and I’m wondering if I really got the whole picture. Maybe my first year Soc prof still has a syllabus lying around somewhere…

    Comment by sarahjanemac | June 21, 2009 | Reply

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