Note: It’s not about journalism, per se, (unless you think Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair...). But this being the end of the semester, when students and faculty alike are increasingly frantic and even desperate, I offer this chilling cautionary tell-all from The Chronicle of Higher Education. I miss Cliff Notes.
“The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): ‘You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?’
“I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.
“I told her no problem. It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won’t find my name on a single paper....”
“You’ve never heard of me, but there’s a good chance that you’ve read some of my work. I’m a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can’t detect, that you can’t defend against, that you may not even know exists.”
—Ed Dante, “The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students’ papers tells his story,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 12, 2010
(Thanks to alert WORDster and skeptical professor Sean Michael)
Image: “Fitzroy Back Alley,” by Aaron
• Editorial Comment: Prof, the dog ate my homework. And barfed. Sheesh.
• PeezPix: Happiness is a Warm Sprinkler