Internet essay mills crank out papers for college students


Corner-cutting college students have long been able to pay someone to write an essay or term paper for them. But the Internet has turned the essay mill into a global enterprise, and makes cheating a little easier and more convenient for students wanting to avoid writing tough papers on subjects like Tolstoy or transportation technology.

Guest: Thomas Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education

Listener comments:

7 Responses to “Internet essay mills crank out papers for college students”

  1. M says:

    Welcome to the XXI century, hackers, crackers.

    Since our peers are stealing money from the working man what would you expecting from those kids looking up to them, Politicians, law makers, people in high position, Wall-Street, Financial Guru “Ponzis” without naming Mardoff, AIG, MCI…

    You reap what you sew.

    Deal with it.

  2. Maria Jette says:

    I missed the original piece on these students cheaters, but just heard your strange response to a listener, who’d objected to your tone in the original piece.

    I object to cheating– any and all cheating. I’m with that listener who found your tone displeasing; and I’m even more displeased by your non-response to HIS comments! You played his remark, and neglected to reply, which came off to me as a sort of passive sneer.

    Do you seriously think there’s nothing alarming about the prevalence of this attitude among college students? Perhaps you don’t see that cheating on a Tolstoy essay is all that dangerous– in that case, I merely question your moral compass.

    However, someone who’s being educated (theoretically) in “transportation technology” (your example above), who disdains doing the actual research into the subject, is not someone I’d care to have working in the TRANSPORTATION SECTOR!!! If you don’t think there’s something profoundly disturbing about the idea of your air traffic controller not having put in the mental labor to master that field, I suggest you ponder it on your next flight.

    I wouldn’t want a cheater operating on my future brain tumor, would you?

    In a nutshell: cheating is wrong, and diminishes us all.

  3. Jon Gordon says:


    You ask, “Do you seriously think there’s nothing alarming about the prevalence of this attitude among college students?”

    I would warn against conflating a question and an opinion. Just because I as an interviewer ask a question doesn’t mean I’m stating any beliefs. It’s just a question. A question designed to elicit a nice, sharp, clear response.

    Perhaps you should listen to the original interview. In no way did I, nor do I now, endorse cheating. Perhaps I should have prefaced my question with a “Let me be the devil’s advocate…”

    -Jon Gordon

  4. Bill McDonald says:

    The problem with the question was asking it. Period.

  5. Jon Gordon says:


    The question elicited a good, strong response about the ethics of essay mills. That was its intent. So I stand by it.

    -Jon Gordon

  6. Maria Jette says:

    Mr. Gordon, I have now listened to the original interview, as you suggested. My previous note was in response to what I felt was your lack of response to another listener’s response (pardon the circuitous sentence!), and I stand by MY comments regarding tone.

    I think you are absolutely correct in writing, ‘Perhaps I should have prefaced my question with a “Let me be the devil’s advocate…” ‘– I’d think that would have prevented that other listener’s reaction; and had you added the previous line (“In no way did I, nor do I now, endorse cheating.”) in response to HIS reaction, you would’ve prevented ME from being appalled by your tone… or the tone which seemed implicit in your lack of response after you played his remark.

    I do understand that a journalist (at least, an American one– BBC & CBC are different animals) wants to appear neutral in an interview like this one. Unfortunately, the casual vocal tone, coupled with the provocative wording of your question, gave the impression that you approved of this kind of academic cheating under certain circumstances.

    I’ve listened to Future Tense since its inception, by the way, and enjoy it; and I do understand that it’s a big job to cram so many huge stories into tiny segments. You do it extremely well… so well, that it’s especially startling to hear something from you and think, “What the–?!?!?”

  7. Jon Gordon says:


    Thanks for taking the time to listen to the original segment, and for your thoughtful perspective.

    You object to my “tone” but wow is that a subjective thing. I really meant nothing by the question other than to get a good answer, but I am sensitive to the fact that listeners can easily perceive something different from what I intended. When I stray into WHAT I BELIEVE on the show, it’s usually pretty apparent — I state a belief from time to time, but it’s always in the form of a statement. To me a question is just a question. But I hear ya. It doesn’t always come across that way.