Scenario 7: Plagiarism and Attribution
You are writing a very long investigative article about alleged cheating and grading problems in your county's school system. The large school system has been plagued by dozens of reports of uncaught cheating, school officials changing grades to boost graduation rates and questionable practices regarding the administration of Advanced Placement tests. You've been working on this article for a few weeks, and other local media outlets have been covering each new step of the investigation as it is revealed. You have folders of notes, several tapes of interviews that you've transcribed, and dozens of daily news reports from another local paper and a regional newspaper. After finishing your article, having it proofread and edited, it is finally published. Your piece is huge and takes up several pages in a prominent section of your paper.
After publication, you are shocked to receive a complaint from a reporter at the other newspaper in your region. She claims that you "lifted" several passages of information from her daily articles about the school scandal and that you used them as background information without acknowledging where they came from. After re-examining your article and your notes, you find that she is right, but that you had decided that particular information was "common knowledge" by the time you completed your article.