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Can You Plagiarise Yourself?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    I'm writing a column and I need to reference something that happened a month ago on my beat. That something made into my BLOG! but not into print. It's just a second example of something I'm writing the column about.

    Can I just cut and paste from my own BLOG!, which is part of my newspaper and part of my job?

    Or, do I need to rewrite it, rethink it, or reference "with files from Podunk Press" at the end?
  2. lono

    lono Active Member

    You're OK.

    It's hard to plagiarise yourself, although Charles Barkley once claimed he misquoted himself.
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    You can't plagiarize yourself. Ask John Fogerty. who spent a lot of time and money to prove it.

    But, in this case, I think you'd be better served to rewrite – and maybe even streamline or improve – what you blogged about a month ago. Surely in the passage of time you have gained some additional insight into whatever it is you wrote about then.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Didn't a columnist get fired for doing exactly this about a year ago?
  5. Diabeetus

    Diabeetus Active Member

    You can plagiarize yourself. Rewrite and rethink it.
  6. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    You most certainly can plagiarise yourself. My college had a long discussion about this topic in my junior year. Seems some kids were getting in trouble for using the same paper for two classes and argued that since it was their own work, it shouldn't have been an issue. The college ruled that with the basic definition of plagiarism being one which prevents using another's work as your own, using a previously submitted paper for a previous assignment and attempting to use it for a new assignment is like stealing another person's work.

    As for your column, I would say just rewrite it a little so it's not an issue. I doubt anyone would have a problem with it, but you never want to put yourself in a gray area if you don't have to.
  7. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Rewrite, anyway. Asking a sports scribe to think in the first place, much less rethink, is asking too much.

    Or just quote yourself, which saves you the rewriting and strokes your ego at the same time.
  8. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    Hope this doesn't make too much sense: Ask your editor for an answer.
  9. I've talked to my boss about this very issue. His view (and it's mine too) is it's fine as long as it's not something you wrote for another publication.
    If you go to a new paper and plagiarize an old story of yours, you have a problem because of the copyright.
    If you're still at the same paper, I don't see a problem.
    Still, I'd certainly be careful and make sure nothing has changed that would affect what I wrote the first time.
  10. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    You can plagiarize yourself. Absolutely.
    Recast it. Cite it. Note it. Rewrite it. Whatever.
    Just don't slap it in there and call it yours (again).
  11. What about a case where you have to keep putting background information in repeatedly?
    For example, cops and courts reporters often have the same background several times as news breaks on a certain case.
    I don't see a problem with them using the same paragraph a few times, as long as it's all still relevant.
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    "B matter" and "lifting paragraphs" are two different things.
    Do we really need to explain the two?
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