The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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December 16, 2021

Jacket Journal Appeals for Recognition: Calls for Credit on Photos and Graphics Featured in the Mount Vernon News


Simply, plagiarism is taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as your own. The Jacket Journal does not condone plagiarism, and recently, the Mount Vernon News has been using photographs taken by Jacket Journal staff without giving credit to the students who spent hours creating the work. The News has also used graphics created by Jacket Journal designers.

Of course, publicity is appreciated when it helps to promote the hard work of writers, designers and photographers, but when credit is not given where it is deserved, it is demoralizing. Frankly, the idea a professional news organization would make this a practice is galling for our staff.

Between September 5 and November 6, there were twenty four photographs posted with their articles, coming from questionable, and sometimes incorrect sources, including personal Instagram and Twitter accounts, Hudl and MaxPreps pages, and one was not even cited. Personal social media sites are private companies, meaning they own the content. It is like taking a page out of a book and passing it off as your own.

The Mount Vernon News is one of three newspapers in the community, but it’s the only one that has caused conflict for the Jacket Journal. The Mount Vernon News used to be family owned, but since they are now owned by Metric Media, based in Chicago, there seems to be no connection to the community, and publishes an incredible amount of articles about Mansfield or surrounding cities. This seems disingenuous from a newspaper bannered after our Mount Vernon.

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This could possibly be explained by the fact the Mount Vernon News is one of few, if not the only, community print newspaper owned by Metric Media.

Other newspapers, especially Knox Weekly, do a much better job of seeking permission to use works by student news outlets. Especially in the modern day, where direct contact information is only a click away, it is incredibly easy to find people and quickly ask permission to share content, rather than just assuming it is okay.

Jacket Journal reached out to the Mount Vernon News with some questions through email on October 23, and even now, there is still no response. On November 2, Principal Mr. Cory Caughlan sent an email, as well as leaving a voicemail after receiving no answer to his call. Finally, Mr. Caughlan called on November 7, still to no avail.

While there is nothing illegal about using our work without offering credit, it is not at all fair to our staff. Ethically, the Mount Vernon News should be asking itself if it really needs to continue to produce content for our community when it is obviously not capable of sending staff photographers to our events, but would rather steal the work of high school students.

The legitimacy and authenticity of journalism relies heavily on honest publishers. Using other people’s work without permission and/or recognition is sleazy, and is not something that the Jacket Journal will tolerate. The recent watermarking of any Jacket Journal pictures is entirely due to the Mount Vernon News’ inability to seek permission or offer credit  to use our work.

There is no need for a lesson of dollars and cents here, as a school newspaper, sharing media in any form is the entire point. There is a need for a lesson in ethics, however. From an ethical standpoint, the staff of the Jacket Journal feels disrespected, and until the Mount Vernon News reaches out for permission properly, it will receive no support from the Jacket Journal.

This story was originally published on Jacket Journal on November 13, 2023.