The Difference Between Borrowing Material and Plagiarism in the World of Journalism

Today in my Electronic Journalism class we talked about journalist borrowing material from other journalist and what are the do’s and don’t of borrowing information.

It is true that most journalists do borrow stories from one another all the time and sometimes lines can be crossed in terms of borrowing ideas and plagiarism. Based off of my own personal experiences through internships, I believe journalists should first try to avoid the situation all together.Yes their may be one story but one story can be seen through several different points of views. For example, this past week a social fraternity at UCF was put on probation. That one story can be taken from several different ways. A journalist could talk about how this will affect other social fraternities, will they have to deal with harsher guidelines. Another journalist can talk about how newly initiated members of that fraternity feel about contributing money to a frat house that they no longer have. Their are several story angles that can come out of one event. I believe a good journalist has to be creative enough to discover what those angles are, without forging the truth.

Furthermore, I believe it’s only expectable to use the same material from another journalist if the information is exclusive and can’t be recorded again. For example, let’s say it’s a forest fire and only one photographer was able to make it to the scene before the fire got put out, or a child was kidnapped and only one journalist was granted permission to interview the family. Exclusive information like that is hard to come across and has the right to be shared with other journalists. However with that said, if a journalist uses quotes from an interview or footage from a scene, they should choose different sound bites or different shots. By using the exact same information as the journalist you received the information from is stealing and makes the journalist lose their credibility in my opinion.

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