A quick cut-paste job reveals 76% plagiarism of reddit.com, government websites, and other online news sources

Today’s journalism is as competitive as it has ever been, and the current era is not quite ready to be coined the “post-fake news” era. Facebook and online sites still provide an outlet for less scrupulous to insert their content into the general population under the false pretense that it can be considered “news” or sometimes even original content.

The explosion of technology over the past dozen years has put a publishing device in the hand of more than half of the people walking the street. Forms of communication are morphing and changing every day, with original content being posted on social media apps, video apps like Tik Tok and YouTube, and photo apps like Instagram.

By default, content ownership belongs to the person or company that created it. Plagiarism is when content is posted without proper credit, giving the assumption that the publisher is the producer of the content. Online tools are readily available to discover potential plagiarism pitfalls.

Access to and publishing of information has never been easier. Handheld devices are practically digital publishing departments, and Facebook’s loose publishing standards allows anyone to claim to be a “newspaper” or “publisher” without the proper checks and balances that maintain an environment of integrity.

On Feb. 3, the article in question was found to be largely plagiarized with just a small mention of a source in the first paragraph. Upon review, it was found that of some 300 words — of those not cut and paste from cdc.gov like most of the article — 76 percent of the text was plagiarized from four other un-cited sources, including other news outlets: ksbw.com, abc10.com, and msn.com.

Plagiarism in Journalism
Plagiarism Plagues Recent Local 'News' Article

True journalism doesn’t start with likes and clicks, and it doesn’t first worry about SEO and web traffic and ethics second. Real news makes the extra call. Real news takes the extra step. Real news is good news. Good news is real news. Paso Robles Press is your hometown news. We are here to raise the bar. We are here to keep the community record straight.

At the Paso Robles Press, we believe firmly in the Constitution of the United States, the First Amendment, and freedom of the press. The right to free speech and freedom of press shall not be abridged. It is up to the reader to decide what news to trust and what news to support.

To err is human. Mistakes happen and corrections are made. The code of ethics by the Society of Professional Journalists provides a straightforward guideline for publishers and writers.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The fourth principle of the SPJ Code of Ethics calls for accountability and transparency, and calls for the exposure of unethical conduct in journalism. Our news team at The Paso Robles Press has decades of practice in journalism and publishing and that experience helps guide us in our decisions to print and how to approach our daily news cycle. It is an honor to compete in local journalism. Being the No. 1-ranked online news source for the North SLO County is a result of producing timely, accurate, honest journalism. We made a deliberate decision not to chase traffic by running hype material, clickbait, or tragedy, and instead we chose “Good News • Real News • Your Hometown News” as the ethos of our community newspaper. Each day, we endeavor to produce the best local stories by professional writers who are proud to put their name on their stories. What you can trust is whether we get the story right or we get it wrong, when we put our name on it, it is our own original content.

spj code of ethics