Plagiarism in the Real World

Rae Magby
Geronimo Public Schools
Geronimo, Oklahoma

Overview and Rationale
Journalism students need to know how plagiarism affects journalism. This lesson will give students practical guidelines and insight for journalistic publication.

Goals for Understanding

  • Essential Questions
    • Why is it important for journalism students to recognize and avoid plagiarism?
  • Critical Engagement Questions
    • What is plagiarism?
    • What steps can scholastic journalists take to avoid plagiarism?
    • How does plagiarism effect the credibility of a journalistic publication?

Overviews and Timeline

Activity 1 (One 50-minute class)

  • Define plagiarism.
    • Discuss the cause and effects of plagiarism.
    • Have students create an art project, a short one-page story, or a digital photo on any subject to turn in for a grade.
    • Obtain written permission from each student to use his or her project in next class period.
  • After class, scan all art projects and photos. Create a one-page story using elements of what the students write and also create a photo illustration by using elements of their writing and art projects.

Activity 2 (One 50-minute classes)

  • Discuss plagiarism again and ask the students for their opinion on the topic. Let the students really debate the subject for about 10 minutes.
  • Project the story and/or photo illustration created with elements of students assignment from Activity 1. Pretend to be a journalist or photographer and act as if you will be selling the story or illustration and that you will profit from doing so. Note the reactions of the students.
  • Let students discuss how they feel about having their work copied. Discuss how stealing, lifting, or borrowing without permission really affects how they felt about the journalist or photographer who planned to gain profit or attention with stolen material.
  • Assign a journal entry to be written for the day their project was stolen. An essay or paragraph can be substituted here.
  • Remind the student they gave permission for their work, and the journalist or photographer has the right to resell the work. Is this plagiarism?

Assessment (One 50-minute class)

  • Students will use class time to create a policy for plagiarism.

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