According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to plagiarize means to, "use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas" (Merriam-Webster, 2014). If one is caught plagiarizing, they can be expelled from college, can experience a damaged professional reputation, be faced with legal repercussions, receive monetary fines, and can be forced out of their career. Plagiarism goes beyond just copying someone's work in high school to a serious ethical and legal issue.

In addition to these effects on the individual doing the plagiarizing, there are also effects on the organization in which that person works. Plagiarism is not limited to students or professors, many business industries require writing and plagiarism is always something that companies have to consider and be aware of.

Plagiarism in Business

The New York Times Plagiarism Case

One such case occurred in 2003 and involved the New York Times. Most people have at least heard of the New York Times if they haven't read it. The New York Times is popular throughout the United States and is viewed as a reliable source of news globally as well. In the third quarter of 2012 the newspaper had total revenue of $485.4 million, making it one of the top grossing newspapers in the world (Haughney, 2013). Along with this success comes a positive reputation from providing reliable and accurate information. One can easily see that one journalist getting caught plagiarizing could be real problem for the business. The paper would have its reputation for reliable information tarnished.

A case of plagiarism could quickly tarnish the paper's reputation. Consumers would begin to question what they read and would undoubtedly cancel their subscription in favor of a paper that does not have accusations of plagiarizing against it.

The New York Times case involved a journalist by the name of Jayson Blair. Not only did Mr. Blair commit plagiarism once during his career at The New York Times, he actually was found to have evidence of plagiarism in 600 articles. Mr. Blair did not just copy from other newspaper stories, he also wrote lies. He wrote about news events as if he were an eye witness when he was not even present, he wrote quotes from sources that did not exist. He simply made them up. He also made up events that were based on nothing but his imagination. All of these lies and plagiarized stories were published by his employer, The New York Times as if they were factual and true.

The only good in this situation is that staff at The New York Times discovered the fraudulent behavior of Blair. The situation could have been much worse for the paper's reputation if another company found the issues. The New York Times immediately dismissed Blair. As a business, the company then had the problem of correcting the problem and repairing their reputation. Losing subscribers would directly affect the company's bottom line financially and with the instability of the newspaper industry in 2003 due to the ever increasing online news market, the company could not afford the loss of a mass number of subscribers. To immediately deal with the situation, The New York Times, published an apology, took responsibility, and asked subscribers to help continue the ongoing investigation against Blair (Hindman, 2006).

Academic Honesty

The importance of integrity in one's work and the focus on the never plagiarizing is more prevalent now that it used to be. The use of Internet sites such as Copyscape has helped colleges to ensure that students learn right away that plagiarism will not be tolerated. Prior to these types of sites, it was extremely difficult for university instructors to know whether or not work was plagiarized. Of course, some cases may be obvious such as when a student's piece of academic work is all of a sudden very different than their usual tone and style of writing. It is also possible for professors to know many of the common resources. However, before the Internet, professors did not have time to check every single resource in all of their student's work. That would have been an impossible task. Now, it is easy to scan papers into these sites to check for plagiarism.

With this being easily available to teachers, there has been a much bigger focus on plagiarism within educational settings. The Internet also makes it easier for readers to check resources on the essays, news and articles they read.

Steps to Credit Work

One simple way to ensure that one is always crediting the work they use is to immediately create the works cited page and to build that page as the writing goes along. It is too difficult to go back and do that later. Writers forget what they need to cite and where the information comes from and it just becomes easier to leave the citation off. When the works cited list is built as one writes and the in text citations are done at the time the information is written into the essay, there will be no concern over plagiarizing someone's work.

The next step is if one is not sure if there should be reference given to the original author, give them credit. It is better to give credit where it is not necessary, then to not give it at all. Even if one is rewording someone else's ideas, they should get credit as the ideas are theirs, not yours. The last step is to use online resources for examples of the proper way to cite a reference.

These resources are extremely helpful and ensure that citations are done correctly. These resources make it easier and when it is easier, writers are more apt to cite the sources that they are supposed to.

Works Cited

Essay Chat. Understanding Different Ways of Doing Academic Research. Online:

Essay Scam. The Truth about Online Plagiarism Detection Tools and Software. Online:

Haughney, C. (2013, August 1). New York Times company posts a 2nd quarter profit. The New York Times.

Hindman, E. B. (2006). The Yew York Times and paradigm repair. Journal of Communication, 55(2), 225-241.

Merriam-Webster (2014). Plagiarize. In Merriam-Webster.

Polish-Translators. About Academic Standards and Plagiarism. Online:

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