Avoid being a copycat

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Courtesy of Sac Chapter of SPJ

A panel of experts will refresh students on ways to recognize and avoid plagiarism.

By Jeff Riley 


Students are being invited to attend “Catching Copycat Culprits,” a panel hosted by this college’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The panel will be 9:25-10:40 a.m. March 28 in Room 120 of the visual arts center and will focus on helping identify plagiarism pitfalls, Zachary-Taylor Wright, president of this college’s chapter of SPJ, said in an interview March 23.

Wright said he believes this panel is important is because people seem to have a misunderstanding of what plagiarism really looks like.

“I’ve noticed there are a lot of problems with people attributing sources,” Wright said. “Especially sources found online.”

The panel of three speakers will be moderated by journalism-photography Professor Edmund Lo.

Two of the speakers are from this college, humanities Professor Jane Focht-Hansen and chemistry Professor Jennifer Caraway.

The third speaker is Gilbert Martinez, media law professor at Texas State University.

The speakers will cover a variety of topics involved with plagiarism such as the consequences of plagiarism inside and outside the academic realm, the approach to take if plagiarized, how to recognize and avoid copyright issues and how to identify plagiarism in one’s own work.

Wright pointed out this would be a good opportunity for students to refresh their understanding of the basic rules of making sure work is original.

“When you’re writing essays, you’re automatically having to source material,” Wright continued. “You may actually be using a lot of predeveloped work.”

Wright concluded the panel aligns with the mission of SPJ.

“It’ll inform the public of ethical practices and get them involved,” he said. “Hopefully, it’ll educate them on how to employ those practices.”

For information, call the chapter adviser Mandy Derfler, journalism-photography academic unit assistant, at 210-486-1767.


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