Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

November 20, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

Another real view of copyright

I think you know this example from COLL 110. Here’s the lead of Leonard Pitts’ open letter to Chris Cecil about his ongoing plagiarism of Pitts’ columns:

Dear Chris Cecil:

Here’s how you write a newspaper column. First, you find a topic that engages you. Then you spend a few hours banging your head against a computer screen until what you’ve written there no longer makes you want to hurl.

Or, you could just wait till somebody else writes a column and steal it. That’s what you’ve been doing on a regular basis.

Before Tuesday, I had never heard of you or the Daily Tribune News, in Cartersville, Ga., where you are associate managing editor. Then one of my readers, God bless her, sent me an e-mail noting the similarities between a column of mine and one you had purportedly written. (

If you don’t know Pitts’ writing, he’s a syndicated columnist for The Miami Herald, and his columns show up in The St. Cloud Times. He often focuses on issues concerning race, immigration, hate crimes, politics, and so on. He’s also on Twitter (@LeonardPittsJr1) and has a delightful, warm voice there.

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