Documentary shows the ugliness of plagiarism

For Immediate Release:  March 20, 2015

BLOOMSBURG — It is the worst crime a writer can commit, it happened at one of the country’s most revered news publications and it is the focus of the documentary, “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times.” The film will be screened on Tuesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in Bloomsburg University’s McCormick Center 1303. The event will be free and open to the public.

In 2003, Jayson Blair, a reporter for the New York Times, stole the work of other journalists and fabricated details in dozens of stories. The documentary includes interviews with New York Times executives, one of Blair’s victims of plagiarism and Blair himself.

While the documentary is specific to journalistic plagiarism, Pat Trosky, mass communications instructor at BU, points out that the topic of plagiarism is universal in all curricula and occupations. “Imagine medical, pharmaceutical or engineering journals taking information from other sources and claiming it is their own? Worse yet, what if the information used eventually was found to be wrong?” she said.

The documentary is presented by BU’s mass communications department and the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter, of which Trosky is president. Information on joining the Society of Professional Journalists will be available at the program.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.