Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be Prepared: Girl Scout Plagiarism

It's too small to read here, but the local by-line says "by Kathy Carol, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida."

For good measure, the end-note says "Written by Kathy Carol -- director of public relations for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida."

The problem is a nearly identical story (dates are adjusted) was posted two years ago on the Internet and carries the by-line of Susie Mamola of Asheville, N.C.

Kathy Carol is setting a fine example for our daughters: If you're too busy to write it yourself, steal it from the Internet. If it's for a "good cause," the ethics don't matter. Shame on you, Mrs. Carol. And shame on DeSoto Sun news editors Laura Schmid and Jon Sica for being too lazy to conduct a 60-second Internet check to preserve the integrity of their own pages.

Afterthought: It's unethical, for sure, but almost as bad, it's stupid. What makes plagiarists think if they can find it on the Internet that Old World Wolf won't? Another big hint: Mrs. Carol submitted two articles; the one she probably wrote (mainly local names and thank-yous for a "Cookie-Off contest") does not use the same diction, style, voice or tone as the plagiarized one. Amateur writers have a hard time disguising the idiosyncracies of their personal writing -- and any savvy newspaper editor (or English teacher) with an ear for the language will hear the differences.


  1. OWW: Did you visit Italy recently? I noticed you called yourself "Old World Wolf" in this post. Ha ha.

  2. Good eyes, YWW! It's a typo that happens a lot -- and you wouldn't believe the "google searches" it brings in!