Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feeling Fit: Your Weekly Dose of Plagiarism

It's "Feeling Fit" Sunday and the Charlotte Sun newspaper's reputation for plagiarism is upheld, once again, on page 11. Barbara Pierce kicks off her feature "Should Mom go to an assisted living facility?" this way: "When seniors begin to see a decline in their personal or mental health, assisted living becomes a good option."

That's also the way that the Internet site opens its blog, Who Lives in Assisted Living: "When aging senior citizens begin to see a decline in their personal or mental health, assisted living care becomes a real benefit."

That same blog continues with, "Assisted living offers ... the comforts of home, as well as a social community in which to stay active."

Pierce's second paragraph changes the order a bit, but retains the blog's key words and distinctive phrasing: "Assisted living offers a community in which to stay active, with the comforts of home."

Pierce's third paragraph claims assisted living facilities provide a "desirable, cost-effective and dignified living environment," wording identical to the "Unlimited Care" website for a Spring, Texas, facility whose cottages provide a "... desirable, cost-effective and dignified living environment." The Texas site mentions "phenomenal growth" and Pierce does likewise.*

Although Pierce can read Internet websites well enough to plagiarize, she apparently can't read the part where says she can't use its material if she plans to "sell or otherwise charge" for the material, placed posted at the bottom of every page under "Reprints and Permissions." That's noteworthy because Pierce uses that website's content to fill out a dozen or so inches of a feature that she, we assume, sold to one of the profitable publications of Sun Coast Media Group, which in turn charges subscribers $1.75 to read the writing she was paid to produce

*Neither the Texas writer nor the plagiarist explains what phenomenal growth is. In the newspaper's Charlotte County home, that would be 14 new beds last year.

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