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CBS Sunday Morning aired a news package over the weekend that highlights the prevalence of plagiarism in the digital world. With just a few quick mouse clicks, we can highlight, copy, and paste another’s work and claim it as our own. While it may be completely innocuous – or even unintentional – plagiarism is an intellectual offense that can discredit you and your organization.


This is a warning to all you content creators out there to avoid plagiarism – write in your own words!


Here are some tips to avoid unintentional plagiarism:

  • Give credit where credit is due.

If you’re citing data from another site or borrowing a phrase from another blog, credit the original author and link back to the source. Make sure that you are crediting the right author and delineate their words by using quotation marks. You can also cite your source using footnotes or endnotes at the bottom of your page.

  • Say something new.

It’s totally fine to base your content off of an idea that already exists. We wouldn’t be able to write if we didn’t do this. But make the effort to say something other than what’s already out there. Expand upon the ideas of your source material by writing something personal and original.

  • Encourage intellectual integrity.

Michael Strong, author of the best-selling book The Habit of Thought, says that intellectual integrity is the act of seeking out ideas that might be contradictory to your own. If you find contradictory evidence, you might need to reexamine your own beliefs. Keep your mind open to new ideas – and you might not have to plagiarize existing ones.


So think for yourself – don’t copy the work of others. Don’t forget to subscribe to the ActivEngage blog for daily updates on marketing, entertainment, and the automotive world!


Link to CBS News article referenced:

Views: 293

Tags: CBS News, Content Marketing, plagiarism


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Comment by Steve Richards on October 26, 2012 at 1:10am
Excellent advice, thank you.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on October 24, 2012 at 7:01am

Good article Stephen!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 24, 2012 at 2:58am

Stephen, thanks for posting this and drawing our attention to a concept and the principles that drive it.  All of us who are content creators and editors need to be diligent about giving source credit and using quotes when citing other people's words.  Sometimes i slip up, only to be reminded by an irate author that source credit and citations are a plus, while plagiarism is an ethical failure.  Lately, if I am even "inspired" by the work of others, even when what I write is my own words typed on the page, I will include a citation and link to the original article that inspired me or made me take a look at a subject.  How hard is it to simply say "hey, I read this article and it gave me an idea to explore this subject..."?

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