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Plagiarism is known as “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.”[1] Someone who uses another person’s work without giving them credit is referred to as a plagiarist.[2]

Plagiarism in Academics:

Within academics, plagiarism by students and professors is often referred to as academic dishonestly. The punishment for such acts varies at different academic institutions, but can range from a failing grade to expulsion. Since the creation of the Internet, plagiarism has become increasingly easy for students. The term cyber-plagiarism is used to describe the copying of ideas found on the internet without giving the original writer credit.[3] The use of the Internet has also provided professors an easier way to detect cases of plagiarism. Self-plagiarism, "the reuse of significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of one’s own work without acknowledging that one is doing so or without citing the original work", is also a serious concern in an academic setting.[4]

Plagiarism in Public Communication:

In the professional world, plagiarism is also a major issue. In journalism in particular, “plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination”.[5] Since the integrity and honesty of a journalist are crucial to their success, plagiarism can cause the public to question their integrity. The public also comes to trust that a source is reliable and accurate, and a journalist's act of plagiarism can be crucial to the success of the media outlet.[6]

Plagiarism in public communication is particularly important, since the majority of the work that public relations practitioners do, some may consider plagiarism. For example, speech writing or ghost-blogging, which is when someone writes something and then gives the credit to someone else.[7] In the case of speeches, the spokesperson must include the name of the creator, and have the writer's approval before using the content, for it not to be deemed plagiarism. As for ghost-blogging, sometimes they are written without the person who is named as the writer ever seeing them. For example, when celebrities are seen in one place, yet they are said to be blog posting at the same time. This hurts the credibility of the person, and is misleading to the reader.[8]
  1. ^ Dictionary.com (2009). Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/plagiarism
  2. ^ Merriam Webster. (2009). Plagiarism. Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarist
  3. ^ Guide to Plagiarism and Cyber-Plagiarism. (2009). Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://www.library.ualberta.ca/guides/plagiarism/
  4. ^ Dictionary.com, 2009.
  5. ^ Plagiarism. (2009). Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
  6. ^ Journalism. (2009). Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://www.famousplagiarists.com/journalism.html
  7. ^ Fleet, David. (2008). The ethics of ghost-writing in social media. Retrieved November 9, 2009 from: http://davefleet.com/2008/11/the-ethics-of-ghost-writing-in-social-media/
  8. ^ Fleet, David. (2008).