Plagiarism: “What was I thinking?”

After cases of “apparent plagiarism” arose in his work, New York Times business reporter Zachery Kouwe ultimately resigned from the paper, admitting the similarities between his work and a series of Wall Street Journal articles existed. But as Slate‘s Jack Shafer noted, the reporter “pleaded both guilty and innocent of the charge” and said he hadn’t “knowingly plagiarized.”

Researchers have concluded that cryptonesia, making unconscious mistakes in copying, does exist, but that it can be avoided by taking “proactive steps.”

Whether conscious or not, there have been plenty of examples of plagiarism at Canadian papers. The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick apologized for printing a story taken from a French-language daily. A sports columnist was fired from The Province in Vancouver after a reader noticed he’d plagiarized from Sports Illustrated. And a couple of years ago, a freelance columnist at the Regina Leader-Post quit after he used material from a Globe and Mail column without attribution.

Meanwhile, journalism instructors are trying to fight the problem of plagiarism at the j-school level.