Highline Community College Library Reference Department
 
Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Avoid It


A Plagiarism Story

Definition of Plagiarism

Why do Students Plagiarize?

Getting Caught

How To Avoid Plagiarism

A Good Rule to Know

To Credit or Not to Credit

Plagiarism Exercise 1

Plagiarism Exercise 2

Plagiarism Exercise 3

Don't Plagiarize:
Give Credit

Summary

Sources

 


A Plagiarism Story

In August 2004, Stephen Dunphy, the business columnist and associate editor of the
Seattle Times
, resigned under pressure after working at the newspaper for 37 years. 
The reason:  plagiarism.


Here is what happened: 

in July 2004 a reader of the Seattle Times emailed the newspaper pointing out that a story by Dunphy was a lot like another story he had read earlier in a business magazine. The newspaper editors did some checking and found the reader was right. They also checked other articles written by Dunphy. According to the editors:

We found 13 stories with significant portions that we felt were blatant plagiarism. In them, Dunphy lifted language and used another writer's style, analysis, explanation and even personal observations without any attribution.
                                                                       Seattle Times  Sunday, September 12, 2004

Here is an example of Dunphy plagiarizing a story for
an article about the Chinese city of Shanghai. Notice how
identical the stories are.

Dunphy's story appearing in the Seattle Times  July 21, 2002:

" ... When the Red Army marched into the city in May 1949, it acquired a major international port of 6 million people divided into pockets of great wealth and desperate poverty.

"There was the Shanghai of Chinese capitalists and Western financiers, a place known for adventure, entrepreneurial flair and civility. This was the 'Paris of the East,'  Asia's most prosperous city a world of stately mansions, grand boulevards, chic cafes run by White Russian émigrés, posh country clubs and dog races.

"And there was also the Shanghai of the wretched naked urchins, diseased beggars and half-starving laborers who lived in shanties and scraped for a daily bowl of rice."

This story, by Michael Weisskopf , appeared in
The Washington Post, Jan. 6, 1985 (seven years earlier):

" ... When the Red Army marched in in May 1949, it acquired a major international port of 6 million people divided into pockets of great wealth and poverty. There was the Shanghai of Chinese capitalists and western financiers, a place known for adventure, entrepreneurial flair and civility. This was the 'Paris of the East,' Asia's most prosperous city — a world of stately mansions, grand boulevards, chic cafes run by White Russian émigrés, night-clubs with names like Casanova, dog races and posh country clubs.

"Then there was the Shanghai of the wretched — naked peasant children, diseased beggars and half-starving coolies who lived in shanties and scraped for a daily bowl of rice."

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