"Never plagiarize," says the Society of Professional Journalists in this short position paper.
"In general, there are only three circumstances under which a journalist does not have to provide attribution," says The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Find out what these are in the site's helpful discussion—scroll to page 2.
Journalism professor Steve Buttry gives these helpful tips about when to attribute information and how to avoid plagiarism.
Several sites offer plagiarism checkers. They're not perfect, but can be helpful as another way to check that you haven't accidentally plagiarised.
Plagiarism Checker from Small SEO Tools is one example.
Journalists who plagiarize and fabricate sources cause real damage to their own careers, their news organizations and the profession as a whole. Below is a short list of some of the people who have made that mistake:
Jayson Blair at The New York Times
Janet Cooke at the Washington Post
Stephen Glass at The New Republic
Jack Kelley at USA Today
Jonah Lehrer at the New Yorker and Wired
COPYRIGHT, FAIR USE AND PUBLIC DOMAIN
"To understand fair use, you first need a basic grasp of copyright," begins the Student Press Law Center's guide to fair use. The guide is clear and easy to use.
The Cornell Copyright Information Center's copyright chart is an accessible way to navigate through the many dates and restrictions of copyright law to help figure out whether you need permission to use a particular piece. (The Center's website has more information and helpful resources).
Columbia University Libraries provide this Copyright Quick Guide with helpful links and explanations.
Stanford University Libraries also has an easy-to-use site, packed with charts and information about copyright and fair use.
"Some common assumptions are wrong" about what's in the public domain on the Internet. The University of Texas libraries' website helps to correct those assumptions.
This "Set of Principles in Fair Use for Journalists" from the Center for Media & Social Impact can help you better understand your rights under fair use.
If you need to use an image but don't have the money or time to pursue copyright permission, you can find banks of images in the public domain at places like "The Public Domain Review," or this guide from journalism professor Paul Bradshaw.
In addition to Creative Commons, you can find copyright-free photos like this one of early journalist Nellie Bly at Wikimedia Commons or Flikr's "The Commons"—but you'll need to be sure to double-check particular licensing agreements before using them outside a news context.
Can You Copyright Musical Notes?
One of the more interesting questions in copyright right now is how much a musician may borrow from or reference the sound of an earlier recording by a different artist. See what you think about these two cases: