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Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm

Editorial

Editors Discuss Plagiarism

default article imageJill Abramson is most known for being the first female Executive Editor at the New York Times, one of the most 

Recently, Abramson has been accused of plagiarizing sections of her new book, Merchants of Truth. 

The editors of The Outlook were asked what this situation meant for journalists as well as college students who are constantly told not to plagiarize. Most editors agreed that this accusation will be unfavorable towards journalism.

“When such a notable person gets accused of plagiarism, it will have a negative effect on journalism regardless if it’s true or not,” said one editor.

“It’s ironic how The Merchants of Truth, discusses the ‘fight for facts,’ yet it has traces of plagiarism. This book adds fuel to the fire for those who dub mainstream media outlets as fake news,” said another editor. 

“Journalism is about writing the truth and the fact this situation has so many questions left unanswered, it definitely gives the industry a bad look,” an editor said. 

One editor did not feel that the accusation would have an immense impact on journalism, stating, “I don’t think her one incident speaks for all journalists.”

“I think those who subscribe to the idea of ‘fake news’ will certainly take this situation as confirmation to their own biases, but it certainly does not make journalism look any worse to the general public,” added the editor. 

Nonetheless, one editor noted, “We have to remember that the New York Times alongside the Washington Post were instrumental in the exposure of the Pentagon Papers under Nixon, among many other journalistic triumphs. With yellow journalism being a huge issue the world faces, either through the intent of other organizations’ to discredit or through the social media grapevine, the values of journalism are more important than ever.”

Abramson claims that she gave credit where credit was due, even if it was just in the footnotes of the book. She defended herself by saying that she made mistakes, but that it was not plagiarism. All the editors agreed that someone should have noticed these “mistakes” before the book was published. Many editors do not believe her excuse that it was just an honest mistake. The similarities were too significant. 

“If some guy on Twitter was able to point out each example of plagiarism, shouldn’t editors at a publisher be able to point it out quicker? Considering her experience, it’s hard to imagine her slip like this,” said an editor.

“She has so much experience that it seems unlikely that she would let something like plagiarism just slip by. I think she didn’t think that she’d be caught, and now is just looking for an explanation to justify,” one editor said. 

Universities and news institutions hold their students, faculty, and journalists to high standards when it comes to plagiarism. At the beginning of each semester, professors at Monmouth review the University’s plagiarism policies. Although it may seem redundant to discuss every semester, this accusation against Abramson shows that plagiarism should be taken seriously. 

“Journalism is about spreading as much of the truth as possible. No story is going to be 100 percent accurate, but journalists expect to come as close to the truth as possible,” said one editor. 

“I believe if the intent can be proven, not just the discovery of the content, but the actual proof of theft of intellectual property is grounds for expulsion,” added another editor. 

“This seriousness is necessary because intellectual property needs to be protected. If you steal material from someone else, you’re committing a crime just like anything else,” said an editor.

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu