12 October 2010

Plagiarism: Last Refuge of the Hack In A Hurry?

We have been talking of "cut-and-paste" journalism ever since word processing happened big time. But then, as they say in Hindi, "नक़ल में भी अकल चाहिए" --Nakal mein bhi akal chahiye (You need brains even to copy).
Apparently, the most respected India Today has witnessed a shameful case of two paragraphs being lifted straight out of another article. And the subject matter is Rajnikanth, India's own movie superstar, while the story from which it was lifted is a US-based online magazine, Slate.
Honestly, why could not the writer simply at least paraphrase the wretched insight he/she may have got from Slate? Beats me.
Also a gentle reminder for those who try to steal: You may not violate copyright in all cases, but on the Web, you can be caught out. In fact, I find that my tweets on Twitter are routinely stolen, but what is touching is that my followers come and tell me about what is going on while I am too busy/lazy to care.
I think there are solutions emerging on the Internet to catch violators, but it is sad that plagiarism is the last refuge of the hack with a deadline, with apologies to Samuel Johnson, who said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

4 October 2010

Exposing the expose - How media spin should be watched

So you think investigative journalism is cool? Or that a sting operation rocks?

The thing can be nasty and explode on your face - especially if you are not thorough. After Channel 7 -- the Australian TV channel -- "exposed" security flaws at the Commonwealth Games arrangements through a reporter's sting, its rival ABC exposed the expose by investigating the whole thing, and found it --in fact, proved it -- to be grossly dubious. Here is a brilliant video on the expose that exposed the expose.