Monday, December 04, 2006

Changing Times

A long long time ago I worked as a reporter for a small town paper. Our paper was not the smallest in the region. From time to time we lifted story ideas from yet smaller papers in neighborhing communities. Early on I tried to credit the other papers in my copy. My editor scolded me for the attempt. As far as our readers were concered, the paper that employed me was The Paper. An acknowledgement of any other paper in the universe was a confession of weakness and bad for business. This is the normal way of doing things. You crib the story from another source, do your own reporting, generate your own quotes and hopefully write it up more elegantly. You see this on the news every night at eleven.

Except now it's wrong.

In response to complaints by the editors of smaller papers, the Times has now told its reporters to never read any of the papers that claimed their stories were pinched. Genius.

Notions of intellectual property rights have gotten way out of hand.

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