The Root of Journalistic Plagiarism: Contested Attribution Beliefs

Norman P. Lewis*, Bu Zhong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Journalists condemn plagiarism, yet rarely acknowledge disagreements over attribution standards. To document and evaluate those differences, journalists in broadcasting and print operations were surveyed (N = 953). Respondents were far less willing to attribute press releases than they were their colleagues' work. They were more likely to consider attribution optional if they were under pressure to produce, worked for a broadcast medium, were a content creator, were less experienced, or saw their principles as flexible. The findings reveal that attribution beliefs are far more pliant than ethics policies suggest and illuminate some of the reasons why plagiarism occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-166
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Journalism
  • Plagiarism


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