Journalism Ethics


I do not tolerate plagiarism or fabrication of any kind. Journalists and writers of all types value their integrity and strive to present the truth to their audiences to the best of their ability. You will be asked to live up to these standards as well. You should adhere to Towson’s policy on cheating and plagiarism. If you are caught breaking this policy, you will be prosecuted to the full extent that the policy allows.

What is Plagiarism in Print Journalism?

• Not citing the source of information used in a story.

• Using other people’s reporting notes. (You may, however, double check the accuracy of your facts and quotes with other reporters who attended the same interview or event.)

• Using sentences or paragraphs from other people’s stories or writings without giving credit or proper attribution. This means if you are using a press release as source material, you must cite the source and paraphrase it to put the release’s information into your own words.

• Turning in someone else’s story and pretending it is yours.

What is Fabrication in Print Journalism?

•  Making up direct or indirect quotes in stories. Quoted material should be what a real person actually said.

• Making up people, events, or facts in a story.

ACCURACY: In a media career, your reputation—and the reputation of the organization for which you work­—is maintained by the quality of your work. Therefore, work that contains many grammatical, spelling, punctuation or style errors will negatively affect these reputations (and in the case of this class, your grade). Factual errors, including misspelling a proper noun, including incorrect information or misstating a fact–EVEN only a typographical error—will take off points and proper names a full letter grade—multiple mistakes earn a failing grade for that story or assignment. The moral of this tale? Fact check and read with the eye of an editor before you turn something in. In the real world, your career literally depends on it.



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