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Archive for July 26th, 2012

Be honest: Even if it’s just ripped from a press release, cite the source

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The plagiarism rule I learned in the newsroom 45 years ago is this: Don’t steal. It has a corollary: Never deceive readers.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Star fired columnist Steve Penn “for using material that wasn’t his and representing it as his own work.” Penn, at least a dozen times, the paper says, took material from press releases and did not tell the readers he did so. The paper was correct to fire Penn; he is suing.

Penn has a defender — Gerard Corbett, chairman and chief executive officer of the Public Relations Society of America. Corbett says it’s okay to take material from a press release (within limits) and use it without attribution. Corbett is wrong, wrong, wrong too.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

July 26, 2012 at 8:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized