Thoughts on Plagiarism

Before anything else, here’s a shameless plug. “Be Informed! Join the Revolution!,” check the official publication of the UST Journalism Society here: The Journalese. I love this publication dearly.

The Journalism Society and The Journalese spearhead a lot of seminars/workshops for the Journalism student body this year and I couldn’t be more proud. The bunch of Journ studs leading the pack are all driven, which explains why The Journalese went online for this academic year. Besides being more practical, the Internet is a potential outlet to keep people informed. Cheers to people behind The Journ Society and The Journalese. You’re doing a great job there.

I just finished reading the article Do not plagiarize, Journs told. With the recent plagiarism issues of Senator Vicente Sotto III (and others), plagiarism is worth discussing.

I had an experience in a “plagiarizing environment”. As Journ studs in college, we were not only discouraged to plagiarize, we were not allowed to do that especially in our academic papers. It is a violation to our profession, copying words and ideas from other people without proper citations. There is also a thing called auto-plagiarism where you plagiarize your own works.

After college, I ventured into a bigger world, and I entered a publication. It was nice and challenging to belong to a semi-glamorous environment. I got to know more about high-end products and brands I did not even know how to pronounce before (self-proclaimed jologs right here). I was able to attend several events with popular personalities from different industries, and was able to eat at several restaurants where they serve meals which cost around quarter to half of my monthly salary. I got the chance to test my styling, PR, researching, and “running” skills. It was almost so blissful to live in a world where you were paid to do such things but there was a flaw, and I was disgusted with plagiarism especially when it involves a high-profile publication (that’s what they call themselves).

There were many instances when I almost plagiarized, and I wanted to sue myself. In times I tried to raise the issue with a superior, she kept on telling me that “it was tradition, their culture”. And I was so disgusted and annoyed by how people keep on holding on to a wrong tradition. How do they plagiarize? I won’t tell but here’s a sample. Just yesterday, I saw low-res photos of this month’s issue. I looked for an article from the set of photos and I tried to look for the original copy using Google search, and viola! I saw it in the Internet, and I was not surprised to find out that it was copied à la verbatim, word for word. And the source, by the way, was not properly credited. I thanked God I no longer contribute to the dirty patchwork.

I just realized that plagiarism is everywhere. While I am not very good in writing, the least that I could do is not just go with the flow and respect my profession. Plagiarism violates my profession. Is it really hard to credit your sources, or at least put “quotation marks” and not claim the idea, or phrase, or sentence, as your own?

The truth is, I left the job because of the system, and because I was so afraid that I would be consumed by the system that in the end, I’d be left with no more respect to the degree that I finished and to other people’s intellectual properties.

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