Cronkite School Academic Integrity Policy Spring 2017
Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The crux of our democracy is the ability of citizens to obtain honest, truthful and balanced information, and the credibility and integrity of the individual journalist and communications professional are crucial in that effort.
In light of the Cronkite School’s mission to prepare students to become journalists and communication professionals, it is critical that credibility and integrity are fostered within the educational environment of the school. To that end, a zero tolerance policy toward academic dishonesty will be enforced within every course and educational activity offered or sanctioned by the school.
Any allegations of academic dishonesty will automatically be referred to the Standards Committee of the school for review and recommendation to the dean of the school. If any student is found to have engaged in academic dishonesty in any form – including but not limited to cheating, plagiarizing and fabricating – that student shall receive a grade of XE for the class and will be dismissed from the school. There will be no exceptions.
By typing my name below and submitting this document to my professor via email, I attest that I have read the Cronkite School’s Academic Integrity policy and reviewed the accompanying information on plagiarism, sourcing and fabrication. I understand and agree to abide by this policy.
Name (please print)
Semester (Fall 2017)
Plagiarism, Fabrication and Sourcing
When you plagiarize or fabricate, you violate two of the most important standards we uphold as journalists: honest and accuracy. This is true whether you have intentionally plagiarized or the plagiarism is the result of carelessness or lack of understanding. In other words, you will suffer the penalties for plagiarism regardless of how it occurred, so it’s essential for you to read and understand this document, which offers examples of plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Plagiarism consists of using someone else’s words, phrases, sentences or ideas without giving credit. This is true whether you do it intentionally or inadvertently.
Students most often get into trouble when they cut and paste information from the Internet. There are two main ways to avoid this and other kinds of plagiarism:
- Quote and attribute. Use the exact words in quotation marks and include who
said it or wrote it.
- Paraphrase and attribute: Use your own words, but still include who said it or wrote it.
To use an example: You are writing a story about local reaction to the U.S. build-up of troops in Iraq. During your research, you find the following sentence in a New York Times story:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s maneuvering to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including a threat to veto any bill brought before her until the expansion was voted on and a last-minute call for a legislative special session to force the vote, has sparked ire among the Republican rank and file. In interviews, many of its most loyal members conceded that the party’s once cohesive ideology has been tainted by the governor’s stance, and they are arming themselves for payback
You want to use this information in your story, so you:
- Cut and paste the sentence into your story as is. You write: Arizona Jan Brewer’s maneuvering to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including a threat to veto any bill brought before her until the expansion was voted on and a last- minute call for a legislative special session to force the vote, has sparked ire among the Republican rank and file. You have plagiarized because you have stolen the idea and the words.
- Use the sentence as is but attribute it to a report in The New York Times. You write: Arizona Jan Brewer’s maneuvering to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including a threat to veto any bill brought before her until the expansion was voted on and a last-minute call for a legislative special session to force the vote, has sparked ire among the Republican rank and file, according to The New York Times. You still have plagiarized because you did not put quotes around the words, which are not your own.
- Put quotes around the sentence and attribute it to a report in the New York Times. You write: “Arizona Jan Brewer’s maneuvering to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including a threat to veto any bill brought before her until the expansion was voted on and a last-minute call for a legislative special session to force the vote, has sparked ire among the Republican rank and file,” The New York Times said. This isn’t good journalism because you should do your own reporting, but at least it’s not plagiarism because you have quoted and attributed the information.
- Paraphrase the sentence in your own words and attribute it to The New York Times. You write: Many Arizona Republicans are irate over GOP Gov. Jan Brewer’s successful fight to expand Medicaid coverage in the state as provided for by the Affordable Care Act, according to The New York Times. Fueling their discontent, according to the Times: Brewer’s threat to veto all bills until lawmakers voted on the matter and her decision to call a sudden special session to approve the ch This isn’t good journalism because you should do your own reporting, but at least it’s not plagiarism because you did not steal the words and you attributed the source.
To use another example: You are writing a story about reaction to Gov. Jan Brewer’s push to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. During your research, you find the following quotation in a New York Times story:
“Reagan once said Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of one another,” said Shawnna L. M. Bolick, a conservative exploring a run for the state Legislature. “I’ve had a very hard time keeping my mouth shut.”
You want to use this quote in your story, so you:
- Cut and paste the quote into your story as is. You write: “Reagan once said Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of one another, but I’ve had a very hard time keeping my mouth shut,” said Shawnna L. M. Bolick, a conservative exploring a run for the state Legislature, told The New York Time You have plagiarized because you have stolen the words published by someone else.
- Use the quote as is but attribute it to a report in The New York Times. You write: “Reagan once said Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of one another, but I’ve had a very hard time keeping my mouth shut,” said Shawnna L. M. Bolick, a conservative exploring a run for the state Legislature, told The New York Time This isn’t good journalism because you should do your own reporting and get your own quotes, but at least it’s not plagiarism because you have disclosed where you got the quote.
- Call up Martha Smith and ask to interview her. She’s too upset, and tells you that you can use what The New York Times has already printed. You take this as permission to quote her directly, so you write: “Reagan once said Republicans shouldn’t speak ill of one another, but I’ve had a very hard time keeping my mouth shut,” said Shawnna L.
- Bolick, a conservative exploring a run for the state Legislature. You have plagiarized because you are still taking words from another publication without attributing them to that publication.
In general, there are only three circumstances under which a journalist does not have to provide attribution:
- Common knowledge: When information is commonly known to a majority of people, you don’t have to attribute it. Examples include: The World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001; Jan Brewer is the governor of
- Background information: When information is undisputed factually and is available from a wide variety of reliable sources, you don’t have to attribute it. For example: Todd Graham, who took over as ASU’s head football coach in December 2011, has eight years of collegiate head coaching experience, including one season with Rice, four seasons with Tulsa and one season with Pittsbur
- Observation: When you witness something first hand, you don’t have to attribute the information. For example, if you are covering a protest and you see that passing motorists are honking and waving in support of the protestors, you can report that without quoting anyone or attributing the information to another source.
Attributing information from press releases:
Press releases are a common way for journalists to get information. A good reporter will use the press release as a starting point, going on to do his own reporting and gathering his own quotes. If you do use information from a press release, however, the rules of attribution apply.
Example: Gov. Jan Brewer has issued a press release stating that she plans to expand a low-cost state health insurance program to help thousands of middle-class families pay for health care for their children. The press release includes the following quote:
“We owe it to our children to do better,” Brewer said. “We owe it to their future.”
You have been unable to reach the governor for a quote, so you:
- Use the excerpt as is. You have misled your readers into thinking that Brewer spoke these words to you.
- Paraphrase the excerpt, writing: Brewer said the measure is necessary for the future of the state’s children. You still are being dishonest about the source of the information.
- Use the excerpt but disclose the source: “We owe it to our children to do bette
We owe it to their future,” Brewer said in a prepared statement. This is better. You have told your readers that the information came from a written statement from the governor’s office.
Using email information:
It’s always better to interview someone in person or, if that’s not possible, by phone. In an email interview, there’s the potential that the subject isn’t who he or she says he or she is and the reporter has much less control over the interview. Moreover, the way someone writes something is rarely the way he or she would speak it. In the event that you have no other choice but to do an email interview, you must disclose that fact to your readers.
Example: You are doing a story about an ASU professor who is developing a new, powerful telescope to be used in space. The professor, James Rhoads, is available only through email. You ask him to explain his research and he writes:
The telescope will collect data, hopefully leading to discoveries about the expansion of the universe.
In your story, you:
- Quote the professor as follows: “The telescope will collect data, hopefully leading to discoveries about the expansion of the universe,” Rhoads said. You have misled your readers into thinking that Rhoads spoke these words to you.
- Quote the professor but specify that it was through email: “The telescope will collect data, hopefully leading to discoveries about the expansion of the universe,” Rhoads said in an email intervie This is better. You have specified that the communication was written, not spoken.
Attributing information in the text of the story:
It’s important that when you use information from a source in a story, the attribution follows immediately.
Example: You are doing a travel story on Bisbee, Ariz. You find the following information on the Bisbee website:
Old miners’ boarding houses have been refurbished into many charming small bed and breakfast establishments, of which no two are alike. Former saloons are now quaint shops, antique stores or art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
In your story you paraphrase the information: Bisbee is known for old miners’ boarding houses that have been turned into bed and breakfasts and saloons that have become shops, art galleries and eating establishments. You include a textbox with your story that includes the Web site www.bisbeearizona.com. This is not sufficient. You must attribute the information to the website immediately after the reference: Bisbee is known for old miners’ boarding houses that have been turned into bed and breakfasts and saloons that have become shops, art galleries and eating establishments, according to the website Bisbeearizona.com. If you use information from the website later in the story, you must attribute it to the site again.
Plagiarism and fabrication are not limited to text. You also can get into trouble when you use someone else’s photos, video or sound without attribution.
How to Avoid Plagiarism in Multimedia:
- Do not pass off somebody else’s work as your own. It’s always best to use your own material. Your instructor will make clear to you whether any other material is acceptable.
- Before using multimedia that you find on the Internet, check to see what restrictions are placed on its use. Most material on the Internet is copyrighted and cannot be used without permission even with attribution. Copyright information can most often be found at the bottom of a page or in background information about the site or media. Look for “Creative Commons” licenses, which often allow the use of material with attribution, though they may prohibit commercial uses of the material. Sites with few restrictions include flickr.com
<http://www.istockphoto.com> and FreeFoto.com
<http://www.freefoto.com/>) Err on the side of caution: If you are unsure whether it is permissible to use a piece of multimedia, don’t use it.
- The rules are no different for YouTube or other video sites. If a journalist uses copyrighted video off YouTube without permission, the journalist is violating the law. However if the creator of the video is voluntarily posting it on YouTube, then that person is giving it away to the world and can be used with attribution. Again err on the side of caution: If you are unsure whether it is permissible to use a piece of video, don’t use it.
- Always get permission before using file tape or other content produced by TV or radio stations, production houses or other sources. This includes using a portion of a show taped off TV or using one file photo that is not yours in a longer video piece. Once permission is obtained, credit the material to the original creator.
- Do not submit any video as your own which contains portions shot by another student or person, even if most of the video was shot by you or you were present at the time the video was shot. (See example below.) The exception is if you must be seen in the shot for a standup. In these instances, check with your instructor on how you should handle providing credit.
- Be careful when editing video or sound. It is acceptable to get input or technical help from instructors, professionals or other students, but the actual editing must be done by you.
- School equipment (cameras, videocameras, etc.) should be used only for class assignments unless you get special permission. All equipment and all content captured is the sole property of the Cronkite School. The content may not be sold or used for any other purpose without the express consent of your instructor or administrator.
Here are some examples to help you understand these guidelines:
You are shooting video at a dog festival with a friend who is helping you carry your equipment. It is noon on a hot July day, and you are tired and sweaty and feeling faint. You:
- Set up the camera and tell your friend exactly what to film, including when to zoom and pan and what to get in the shot. You go and sit in the shade to cool off for a while and drink some water. This is not acceptable. Even though you dictated the shots you wanted, you didn’t take them. If you turn in the work as your own, you have plagiarized.
- You take a break in the shade and drink some water, then go back and shoot the remaining shots. This is better. The work is your own. You are creating a graphic that lists key elements in a new bill. You need a background of the state capitol building. You:
- Google “State Capitol” and use the first picture you find, which happens to be on a blog site. You don’t think you need to attribute it because it is going to be a semi-transparent background for your graphic. This is questionable practice. First, you don’t know if the photo is copyrighted and by whom. Not only do you not have permission to use the photo, but you do not have permission to alter the photograph by using it in a graphic.
- Search “Creative Commons” on Flickr until you find a photo that specifies it can be used and altered for non- commercial purposes. You then put a clear credit line in the bottom corner of your graphic that credits the photo to the original photographer, Flickr or both. This is better. Using a site (there are many) that has free use or limited-use images with clearly stated copyright policies is the best way to find images for use in projects.
How to Avoid Fabrication in Multimedia:
Fabrication with multimedia involves altering the media to misrepresent or falsify the facts, intent or meaning of a story or idea. Digital editing systems, such as Photoshop and Final Cut make it easy to alter images, and it’s usually hard to detect what has been edited and how. This doesn’t make it right. Edit photos and videos carefully: Your goal is to replicate as accurately as possible the scene you photographed or videotaped.
Here are some guidelines to follow to avoid getting into trouble when editing video, photographs and sound.
- Basic lighting and color correction (white balancing, adjusting contrast and levels, etc.) are acceptable. Other corrections such as altering colors (making the colors more vibrant) or intensifying lighting effects (dodging or burning) should be used with extreme caution, being careful not to misrepresent the original scene.
- More complex alterations, such as adding or removing elements of an image, combining multiple photographs into one or significantly altering color or lighting should never be done unless you are creating an illustration and label it as such. (See example below.
- Do not stage scenes unless you are shooting a portrait and it’s clear to the viewer that the photo has been set up. Never ask someone to perform an action – or even repeat an action that you missed – such as asking protestors to yell or a politician to stand on a podium and pretend to give a speech. (See example below.)
- When cropping a video or still image, be careful that the cropping does not distort the truth. If you are shooting a story about how the economy is affecting restaurants, it would be unethical to crop out a crowd of customers to make it look like there are fewer people in the restaurant.
- Do not use any sound effects or natural sounds that you did not collect at the scene at the time of the recording. (See example below.)
Here are some examples to help you understand these guidelines:
You have taken a photograph of a firefighter at the scene of a raging fire in the early morning. You were facing the sun and captured a beautiful silhouette of the firefighter, but the color of the sky is a brownish grey. You don’t believe this captures the intensity of the scene. You:
- Adjust the colors of the sky to a vibrant red-orange, thus replicating the feeling of danger at the scene. This is fabrication. A photographer at The Charlotte Observer made similar adjustments to a photograph that ran on the front page and he was fired from his position.
- Make slight adjustments to the levels and contrast, but retain the color of the sky. Or, you choose a different image that you feel better captures the scene. This is better. You have not altered reality. You are producing a video package about emergency medical services.
- You interview a paramedic outside a local hospital, but the video isn’t very compelling. You:
- Ask the paramedic and his partner to pretend they are wheeling someone into the hospital. This is fabrication because you are staging a scene that did not take place.
- Ask the paramedic if you can ride in the ambulance with him on the next call. This is better. You are capturing events as they occur.
You are doing a story on highway fatalities on I-10. You film some traffic on the freeway, but when you get back, you realize you forgot to turn on your mic to capture sound. You:
- Walk to the nearest busy street and record some audio of cars. You think, “Traffic is traffic.” This is a misrepresentation. The viewers will believe that the traffic they hear is the traffic on I-10. That is not the case.
- Go back and re-record your video, making sure the mic is turned on. This is accurate. Viewers will hear the actual sound that matches the scene they are watching.
Cronkite faculty members Steve Elliott, Mark Lodato and Kristin Gilger contributed to these guidelines, as did Cronkite graduate Jennifer Matthews and Phoenix attorney Daniel C. Barr.