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10 Writing Tips On How Not To Plagiarize A Press Release
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As a journalist, you know the importance of crafting an original article. Many press releases land on your desk or in your email, but rather than hastily copying and pasting sections from them, you can use the opportunity to craft engaging articles that are entirely your own. Here are 10 tips to ensure that what you write is original and not duplicated content.
Tip #1: Read through the press release (PR) and highlight what you find to be the most important bits of information. Be sure to take the notes in your own words. You can then easily transform your notes into your own words while conveying the overall message of the press release.
Tip #2: If parts of the PR cause you to question its accuracy or leave you confused, then do some research. Also use the contact information on the press release and contact the person or company to answer your questions. You can add more value and a different viewpoint by simplifying the PR and writing for a public audience.
Tip #3: Change the order of the information given in the PR. Find what you think are the most interesting facts and angle your article around that. Reveal the most important information towards the beginning to engage your readers and keep them reading.
Tip #4: If the PR contains any quotes that you feel would add value to your article, you may want to include them. Use quotation marks around the dialogue and identify the speaker so readers know who said what. Direct quotations with proper attribution is not plagiarizing.
Tip #5: If you are unsure of how to word something differently than how the writer had stated it, then use a thesaurus. Most word processing software has this function, and it can help clarify your own ideas on how to say something clearly and differently.
Tip #6: Do some thinking and brainstorming after reading the press release. Do something to refresh your mind, like taking a nap or a relaxing walk. Let the information settle in to encourage new ideas to formulate. By the time you sit down to write, everything will come out in your own words.
Tip #7: Talk to a colleague about the press release and what points you'd like to portray most in your writing. See if it interests your colleague so you can sense how the public might react to what you have written. Use your own findings to present the information in a different way.
Tip #8: Seek interviews with anyone you think would add great insight to your article. This can be anyone who is directly or indirectly connected to the PR. If this is not possible, you may consider interviewing the public to document their opinions and reactions to the topic. This bonus information will differentiate your article from the PR even further.
Tip #9: Omit anything that you feel is irrelevant or boring. This will help make your article fresh while keeping it exciting and interesting.
Tip #10: Upon completion, run your article through a free plagiarism checker to find any instances of duplicate phrasing or sentences.
Because press releases are considered "public domain" material or licensed under Creative Commons, republishing the entire PR or pieces of it is not considered plagiarism; however, any experienced journalist knows that writing an original article from a PR is more ethical and admirable.
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