Yesterday morning I awoke to find that I had become a member of the Commercial Appeal staff. I found this quite strange since the Commercial Appeal never contacted me about writing for them and never paid me for my work. But nonetheless, in the paper appeared my thoughts and words (although slightly edited). So I just wanted to write and make sure I’m not supposed to be showing up for work for you guys and didn’t know it. If I am, I apologize for not showing up yesterday or today. However, I’m willing to start within 2 weeks after I give notice to my current employer. It’s the right thing to do.
I don’t mean to imply that you have no idea what I’m talking about, because surely you know whose thoughts and ideas you print. But just in case you missed it, in Geoff Calkins article “Vols show Memphis Tigers how far they have to go”, in the middle of the article, is my line, “The O.J. Mayo-Tony Allen tilt was more competitive than this one.” I know, I know, it’s funny and brilliant and helps merge both Memphis Tigers and Grizzlies basketball into one joke. I’ll accept your thanks before you offer it, because really, who wouldn’t find this funny?
How is this my thought you ask? Am I simply some delusional reader that has lost all sense of perspective and started making claims to random words in your paper? Of course not! During the course of the Memphis-Tennessee basketball game, due to boredom and frustration at my beloved Tigers taking one on the chin, I began to tweet my thoughts in real time. One of my tweets, during the game, was “Even the Tony Allen-OJ Mayo fight was more competitive than this.”
How did this tweet get into your paper? Do me and Geoff Calkins simply share similar taste in thought and joke? Do great minds truly think alike? I wish this were true. But my tweet did not simply fall on deaf eyes. I’ve got 105 followers! And who is one of these followers? Geoff Calkins, your highly esteemed columnist! It appears as though Geoff decided to take my tweet, incorporated it into his article and failed to quote or credit me. It surely was a typo. Because, if not a typo, then I can’t help but fear that he outright stole it. I think there’s a term for this….what is it…hmmm…oh yeah…plagiarism. Surely he didn’t do that.
I like to think I’m a fair person. I tweeted your employee, Mr. Calkins, yesterday and asked him for my credit. But this tweet DID seem to fall on deaf eyes. It’s been nary a word from him since he stole my line. So, it appears, it’s come to this. I’m having to write in and defend myself. Since it’s quite obvious my work, however small, was stolen, I feel the Commercial Appeal has several options to rectify the situation.
1. You can, as mentioned above, just go ahead and give me a job as a sports columnist for your organization. I do have a Master’s degree in journalism and previous blogging experience. I can provide writing samples if needed. My Mayo-Allen tweet is just the tip of the iceberg!
2. You can publicly print this letter in your paper and underneath it, Mr. Calkins can supply his response. I’m sure it’ll make for great discourse on the topic of tweets/plagiarism in the 21st Century that will most likely win awards. Major awards!
3. You can print a public apology from Mr. Calkins in your paper.
4. You can send me a royalty check for the profits from your January 6 edition. After all, my work was used. I’m not too sure if this is a viable option since it appears that the newspaper industry is faltering. There might not even be a royalty for me to have. Although, I suppose, I’m understanding now why the industry might be going under. If a random guy sitting on his couch can provide insight and send it to the masses instantly (105 followers!), why pick up the paper the next day just to read those same thoughts from someone that is paid to travel to and from the game?
Feel free to contact me and let me know what option you think is best. Or, if you have another solution, I’m more than willing to listen.