Magazine article The Masthead

How to Practice 'Autologous Plagiarism.'

Magazine article The Masthead

How to Practice 'Autologous Plagiarism.'

Article excerpt

First, persuade your computer czar to create an editorial archive.

I get out of town so rarely I don't know whether The Keene Sentinel is ahead, behind, or running right along with most other small (15,000-circulation) newspapers in the computer age. But during a recent bout with the flu - trying nonetheless to maintain editorial standards and keep up with deadlines - I was glad we're at least where we are.

Our newsroom has been computerized for almost two decades, of course. After a fashion. For the past few years even our photos have been computerized, although some of us still don't understand how that works. All I know is that we have no more pictures on paper.

The Sentinel has had a Web site ( for two years now from which we give away select pieces of the newspaper, including the daily editorials. I now get angry letters from readers in places I didn't know existed.

But here's the real treat. Although we don't yet have the capacity to store all our published stories on computer, I did talk our computer wizard into letting me file all the editorials on computer, year by year, where I can search through them by date, title, or any keyword. That allows me to practice a time-saving editorial technique I call autologous plagiarism.

Here's how it works. You spend half a day talking to people and trying to figure out what, say, "stranded electricity costs" means. You talk to power producers, regulators, politicians. …

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