Once upon a time, plagiarism seemed a straightforward concept addressed by an equally straightforward question: Did you copy someone else's work without properly crediting them? Well, then, you plagiarized. It was that simple. But as with most things, technology has both clarified and confounded the issue. Modern tools simultaneously have helped raise awareness of idea theft while also introducing us to a menagerie of other species that are, if not exactly plagiarism, at least its close relatives: patchwriting and unchecked aggregation, for instance. We've also encountered sneakier types of word pilfering, like copying tweets. Meanwhile, writers are realizing that Wikipedia is not a free-for-all, after all--a lesson even learned by Buzzfeed, where entries once seemed copied-and-pasted with wild abandon. And that's to say nothing of the more insidious types of alleged plagiarism, as witnessed in the maelstrom of controversy currently surrounding CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
On that note, we thoroughly enjoyed this recent reflection on plagiarism by Ben Mullin at Poynter. One of the institute's first Google Journalism Fellows, Mullin not only offers a clear-cut guide to pinpointing plagiarism but also this practical flowchart to print out and keep nearby for reference. That's why we've invited Mullin to be our guest journalist at this next #muckedup, and we're delighted that he's accepted. Join us this Tuesday at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST simply by following the #muckedup hashtag--and if you can spare a tweet, please help us spread the word and invite others simply by clicking here!