Defenses Against Plagiarism image

By Casey Bukro

Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists

The editor and the publisher of an auto magazine decide to dismiss a long-time writer after discovering unattributed quotes in his articles that appeared to be lifted from other sources, giving the impression the writer had been in Iraq although he was not.

The writer said it was his original work or data in the public domain that he corroborated, except for one quote in a piece about China.

Given these discoveries that could damage the magazine’s editorial integrity, the publisher asked the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists what it should do to strengthen its defenses against plagiarism.

If you were the AdviceLine advisor, what would you suggest?


The Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists was founded in 2001 by the Chicago Headline Club (Chicago Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists) and Loyola University Chicago Center for Ethics and Social Justice. It partnered with the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2013. It is a free service.

Professional Journalists are invited to contact the Ethics AdviceLine for Journalists for guidance on ethics. Call 866-DILEMMA or

Visit the Ethics AdviceLine blog for more.