Even After Graduation, Plagiarism Is Wrong

Imagine you were the associate managing editor of a small North Georgia newspaper. You wouldn’t have nearly the daily headaches that afflict your big city contemporaries. If you managed to cover a small fire down at the brewery and the grand opening of a Ruby Tuesday’s, then you’re work is done for the week. To fill the time inbetween such grand events, you might try your hand at a little editorializing of your own. After all, you have a loyal readership sitting right on your doorstep, so why not share a piece of your mind.

And if you found yourself swamped by more local news than usual — controversy erupted down at the Wal-Mart or someone jack-knifed a tractor-trailer near your interstate exit — you could take advantage of your small-town audience and substitute the work of another journalist from an entirely different city. After all, who would have to know?

Well, that other journalist might take notice and call your cheating ass out in public.

See, my life’s goal is to learn to write. And you cannot cut and paste your way to that. You can only work your way there, sweating out words, wrestling down prose, hammering together poetry. There are no shortcuts.

You are just the latest in a growing list of people who don’t understand that, who think it’s OK to cheat your way across the finish line. I’ve always wanted to ask one of you: No honor or pride? How do you face your mirror knowing that you are a fraud?

If your boss values his paper’s credibility, you will soon have lots of free time to ponder those questions.

But before you go, let me say something on behalf of all of us who are struggling to learn how to write or just struggling to be honorable human beings:

The dictionary is a big book. Get your own damn words. Leave mine alone.

As you might expect, Chris Cecil is now the former associate managing editor of the Cartersville Daily Tribune.

3 Comments so far

  1. karsh (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2005 @ 6:29 pm

    Oh dear me. Georgia is becoming the new Florida. Or is that the other way around?

  2. susie (unregistered) on June 3rd, 2005 @ 7:24 pm

    Leonard Pitts, Jr. is the man. I love his writing and I am not surprised that someone would be bold enough to plagiarize his work (some unethical choad, no doubt!). And Mr. Pitts nailed him!

  3. Jennifer (unregistered) on June 4th, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

    If you are going to be so despicable at least have the brains not to plagarize a syndicated columnist for God’s sake.

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