This morning, with a few minutes to kill, I looked at some sections of the paper that I usually don’t read. One article on page five (it’s also on page 5 of the evening paper) caught my attention:
Choose to Use Healthy Words
by Carrie White. (She apparently writes a "Healthy Ways" column.)
After reading the article, some of my internal alarms went off. Having spent most of my adult life teaching subjects where plagiarism could be an issue, the article looked suspicious. I decided to check a few chosen sentences.
I started with these two sentences from White's fifth paragraph:
The power of words isn’t lost on anyone—just think of the pleasure you feel when someone pays you a sincere compliment, or the discomfort of realizing you’ve spilled a secret you’d promised to keep. Words and the energy they carry make or break friendships and careers; they define us as individuals and even as cultures.
From there, I googled “Just think of the pleasure you feel when someone pays you a sincere complement.” Here’s a screenshot from the top of the search engine's page 1’s results:
(With 37 hits, Carrie White apparently wasn’t the first to "borrow from the original.")
Additionally, a not insignificant portion of White’s article (half of point 1, all of point 3, and part of point 4) would appear to come word-for-word from this 2004 copyrighted Patricia Wagner article at the “Christian Mommies Home Page.”
At the end of White’s article, we learn that she has spent 25 years in the fitness industry and is currently “a professor, yoga instructor and the director of the LaunchLab at West Virginia University.” In her role as professor, I wonder if she has ever accused a student of plagiarism?