I forgot that it’s wrong to plagiarize

Steve Martin used to have this routine:

You can have a million dollars and never pay taxes.

How?

First, get a million dollars. Then when the IRS comes and ask you why you haven’t paid any taxes on the million dollars — two simple words:

I forgot!

I forgot I was supposed to pay taxes.

This came to mind after reading about the latest case of professional plagiarism. The writer is always amazed that he/she did something like that. It was subconscious, they say. But you know what? I believe it can happen, and that it isn’t always intentional.

When I worked at a summer camp man (many) years ago, I came back from a  day off to learn that a male staff member had been fired because one of the girls campers accused him of flashing her as he was exiting the shower. Now I wasn’t there to see the alleged incident, and I didn’t know the guy that well, and this may have actually happened, but isn’t it also possible that it was an accident? A gust of wind, an inadvertant scratch without realizing someone was within viewing range? The staffers were a bit put out that he was so quickly dismissed, but I can also see the side of the camp owner who had to protect his business. As do the newspapers when they let can someone accused of the crime of plagiarism, no matter how innocent or well-meaning the writer might have been.

Marketwatch.com wrote about this event. I find it a bit amusing that every first mention of a company is accompanied by the lastest financial snapshot. But that’s what this particular site is all about, I guess.

Discuss.

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Fur cryin’ out loud: More furloughs?

Received the news today: More furloughed days off. Sometimes I wonder if management is handing us a bill of goods. Naturally, they want to keep moral high, but not only have we not have a raise in two years (speaking personally) but now we’re losing out at least once a month. Rats.

Did ya miss me?

Apologies to anyone who’s been following The Worried Journalist. (If you had actually been following me, you’d know what I’ve been up to).

Suffice it to say, the last few — what has it been, weeks? Months? — have been tense and interesting (like the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”) Things at work are basically status quo: management keeps saying how dire the situation is; a few people have left and heir jobs have been absorbed and distributed among the remaining staffers. I, myself, am now pulling triple duty, but how can I complain? At least I have a job. For how much longer, no one can say. Who knows, I might end up like Mark Zuckerman.

Who dat, you might ask?

Zuckerman used to be the Nationals beat writer for the Washington Times before the publication decided to jettison its sports department. So while he’s waiting for another job, he’s taken matters into his own hands, successfully, it seems.

From Zuckerman’s Feb 8 post on NatsInsider.com:

This site, though, isn’t a money-maker. I’m doing this on my own, receiving no income other than a few pennies each time you click on an ad.

So I need your help to make this happen. At the top of this post, you saw a link with instructions on how to make a donation. I’ve set up a system with PayPal, a safe and reliable method that allows you to pay by credit card with confidence. You are free to donate as little or as much as you’d like.

If you choose not to participate, no worries. You’ll still have access to my full coverage from Florida. But if you do participate, I’m going to return the favor by offering you extra, exclusive coverage all spring.

Here’s what you’ll get, based on your donation level:

$20 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session.

$40 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session, plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member.

$60 — Exclusive daily audio file of Jim Riggleman’s morning or postgame media session; plus another daily audio file of an interview with a Nats player, coach or front-office member; plus the opportunity to submit a question to be asked of Riggleman or a prominent player during a spring training interview.

So rather than POD — “print on demand” — we gvie you NOD — “news on demand.”

Zuckerman listed a goal of $5,000; to date, he has more than doubled that.

God bless the child who’s got his own, but if this is the shape of things to come, we’re in trouble.

(Slate.com’s Hang Up and Listen podcast covered this story in it’s latest edition.)

He’s baaaa-ack

  • A reluctant welcome

    It’s no secret what’s going on the field of print journalism. It’s going into the crapper. I wonder if Mr. Internet realized this would happen when he invented the World Wide Web. Regardless, the situation is here and we’re stuck with it. The purpose of this blog is to blow off a little steam, and I invite my fellow ink-stained wretches to join in with their own tales of woe or triumph. Maybe this will turn into a nice little support network. Questions? Suggestions? E-mail me at worriedjournalist(at) gmail(dot)com.
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