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Norman P. Lewis, assistant professor in journalism for University of Florida, writes about a lesser-known form of plagiarism in his paper, “Idea Plagiarism: Journalism’s Ultimate Heist.”

Dr. Lewis states: “Concealing the sources of ideas misleads the public about the origins of news and sometimes results in withholding information, violations of journalism’s public-service norms and truth-telling mission.”

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) includes Lewis’ abstract in its list of media ethics abstracts, free online for non-members.

The U.S.-based non-profit organization describes itself as having “3,700 members from 50 countries that affiliate among 18 divisions, 10 interest groups and two commissions.”

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Another abstract on the 2012 media ethics list is, “Spike the football: Truth-telling, the press and the Bin Laden photos,” by Fred Vultee, assistant professor, communications, Wayne State University.

Vultee explores news media’s “interpretations of the role of images – specifically, images of national enemies in death.” His discussion, according to the abstract, compares “the need, or duty, to publish photos of the Nazi leaders hanged at Nuremberg in 1946” with “decision that the White House faced after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011” to not publish images of his corpse.

There is also a list of media ethics papers from 2011.  Bu Zhong, associate professor of communications, Penn State University and Lewis’s paper, “The Psychology of Plagiarism,” is included in this list.

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Is Stealing an Idea Plagiarism?

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