be an original – or not

In the course of the past couple days I’ve encountered something shocking to me – not once, not twice, but three times.

When I was young I had dreams about being a writer.  I loved writing stories – which, I’ll admit, were heavily influenced (but never copied) by books from L.M. Montgomery, E. Nesbit, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  But I knew that writing was something that needed to be developed and my Mom encouraged me to come up with more of my own ideas instead of borrowing from someone else.

Like crafting an original piece with a pen, when I was young I thought that certain songs should only be reserved for people who had a well-trained and beautiful voice.  “Ave Maria” and “Oh Holy Night” were such songs that were solely for those whose gift and training permitted them to sing them.  These thoughts certainly stemmed from the perfectionist in me.

Throughout my education while growing up, my teachers did a fine job in training myself and my peers about the importance of giving credit where credit’s due, teaching us to cite, quote and to always have a good bibliography.  Plagiarism was something with serious consequences.

So to face three situations in the past few days where some online articles and blog posts were written with no integrity or original ideas and were very clearly plagiarized, I just couldn’t believe it.

One man had written for his church’s denomination’s online newspaper and his entire article was long quotes from other sources (pertaining to my husband’s foundation).  He did include links to the original posts but honestly, what was the point of him filling his entire article with other people’s words?

A woman had written a blog post this week that was too too similar to another blog post written in 2009 by a guy I know, and whose blog I frequently read.  No references of where she got her ideas.  Nothing whatsoever.

And yet another women, who seems to be the editor for an online newspaper in Asia, posted an article, borrowed from an Australian newspaper (which was credited at the bottom fortunately), with an image that was completely unrelated to the the subject and issue of the article (image taken from my husband’s foundations’ website).

Two of these situations had personal connections to us because of my husband’s work but all of them infuriated me.  Seriously.  What has journalism and writing in general come to?!

Dear Dear was talking to a friend of ours via Skype the other night and our friend said that there are actually very few bloggers out there who write original work.  Is this true for journalists as well?  What happened to integrity?

I may not be a professional writer – not even close – but one thing I’ll stick to is being myself and writing my own work.  Continuing to give credit to those whose ideas have inspired or influenced me.  Writing with integrity and being an original.

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