July 2015 Printips

Writing Ethically in the Digital Age

 In today’s workplace, effective promotional writing is now a necessity. Besides writing copy for printed material such as brochures, product sheets, and visual aids used in sales presentations, companies and organizations now need to produce content for web sites, blog posts, press releases, and social media.

A common way to begin a writing task is to search the internet for ideas and to see what others have written on a particular topic. While this helps stimulate your thinking and expand your knowledge, it also can lead to questionable writing practices such as borrowing heavily from a source without citing it, paraphrasing that remains very close to the original, unconscious plagiarism, and even copyright infringement.

We all freely copy things we like and send them to others, use them on our social network sites, or add them to our presentations and reports. Ethical writing does not prevent the use of other’s ideas and words, but it does require that the source be cited and fully credited whether the source is paraphrased or directly quoted.