Questions over How to Watch TV News and Plagiarism

Task: Answer the questions provided in the Requirements section
Essay Topic: How to Watch TV News
Essay Type: Critical Essay
Length: 1 page
Formatting: MLA
Requirements: Question 1. What was the most surprising or interesting information for you from these first few chapters of How to Watch TV News?

Question 2. Why is it important to avoid plagiarism? Is plagiarism stealing? If so, how?
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Question 1: What was the most surprising or interesting information for you from these first three chapters of How to Watch TV News?

The most surprising idea I found in the first three chapters of Postman’s How to Watch TV News was towards the end of Chapter 2, which states “. . . . but in its worst form it [television news] can also be mainly a ‘filler,’ a ‘com-on’ to keep the viewer’s attention until the commercials come”. This goes along with the idea presented in Chapter 1, that the television programs we watch are delivering us to the sponsor of the show—the advertisers (2). I am not naive. I understand that the news we watch is selected for us, and what is selected is based on the perception of what the majority of the viewing audience wants to see. However, the idea that the new s program is filler meant to deliver us to the sponsor is a surprising concept for me, especially since I tend to record all my shows, including the news, and then watch it later. I skip the commercials, by the way. This concept makes sense, though. I have recently felt irritation while on Face Book because I see advertisements from online retailers I recently visited and from whom I have purchased items. My viewing and purchasing habits are showing up on my Face Book account site, even though I did not click a “share” icon. Clearly, any form of technology with Internet capability, including television, is able to track what we watch, how we watch it, where we watch it, and when we watch it. Surveys can also provide the answers to why we watch. The reason for such scrutiny is obvious—to make money. Therefore, my conclusion as to how to watch television is simple. Determine how the news show and its sponsors are making money from the viewers, and we will better understand how to view what they choose to show us.

Question 2: Response to Rothstein’s article “Politico Reporter Dismissed for Plagiarism.”

In her article “Politico Reporter Dismissed for Plagiarism,” Betsy Rothstein comments that those who were close to Kendra Marr feel that her acts of plagiarism were unintentional. “They reason pressure and sloppiness contributed to her fall” (1).

Avoiding plagiarism is important, and part of that importance is in understanding what constitutes plagiarism. First, it is important to avoid plagiarism for a couple of reasons. Simply put, plagiarism is theft. It is the use of someone else’s ideas, research, creativity, or hard work without providing that person with credit or acknowledgement for what he or she has produced. Everyone deserves credit for their contributions to mankind, regardless of whether money is made in the process. Second, we need to know where ideas come from and on what the ideas or information is based. If we do not properly cite our sources, then we are not in a position to easily verify the validity or reliability of what we are being told. That may lead us to develop something on a faulty foundation that may later collapse on us or to draw faulty conclusions.

Finally, we must understand what plagiarism is. Access to the Internet makes committing plagiarism easy. All one has to do is right-click on an image and download it onto a computer. One can do the same with music and videos. In addition, copying and pasting into a Word document is a cinch. What individuals often do not understand is that even if one paraphrases a thought or idea or borrows a statistic from a report or study, that they are using someone else’s thought process, someone else’s expertise, someone else’s creativity. It is important to give credit, and in some cases, to ask permission to use a document or piece of information. Whether a person should lose a job over plagiarism is a case-by-case situation. In the case of Kendra Marr, yes, she should have lost her job. Her job is to investigate and to report the news accurately. If she depends on information from any source, including a turn of phrase or organization of ideas, she is obligated professionally to cite that source. Otherwise, she damages the trust her followers place in her for accurate news, and she also damages the organization for which she works. If acts of plagiarism erode trust in that person or that person’s employer, that person deserves to lose his or her job because of it.

Works Cited

Postman, Neil. How to Watch TV News. ed. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.
Rothstein, Betsy. “Politico Reporter Dismissed for Plagiarism.” – FishbowlDC. 13 Oct.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 2 votes
Overall Impression:
I think the writer tried to sound smart, but ended up sounding like he or she needed more classes in basic essay writing. And that the writer does not know how to use Facebook.

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