[Scene One: SABAHSONGS is online.]
SABAHSONGS: Oh, here’s that nice piece about that really cool musician I wrote about… [gasps] Wait! That’s not the SabahSongs’ website. That’s a national newspaper’s website!
[Scene Two. SABAHSONGS writes email]
SABAHSONGS: [Speaks aloud while writing] Hey Really Cool Musician, can you have a word with the journalist who took my nice story about you, and put it on their website without mentioning SabahSongs?
REALLY COOL MUSICIAN: Oh man, I didn’t know they did that. Let me talk to them.
[A few hours later.]
REALLY COOL MUSICIAN: They said it was a mistake. They thought it was from a different site, one that doesn’t have SabahSongs in the URL at all. They didn’t even see that SabahSongs is in the Home Page Custom Header. But they know now, and they’ve credited SabahSongs as the source of the material.
SABAHSONGS: Hey thanks for taking care of that. No worries, it’s such an easy mistake to make. It isn’t the first time. Anyway, SabahSongs keeps screen dumps of all the web pages where we find theft of original material. We keep the “Before” and the “After” pages, including the journalist’s name.
Since journalism’s main currency is public trust, a reporter’s failure to honestly acknowledge their sources undercuts a newspaper or television news show’s integrity and undermines its credibility. Journalists accused of plagiarism are often suspended from their reporting tasks while the charges are being investigated by the news organization.