Copy That

A writer with a Scottish press agency can expect to receive a telephone call from a former Herald writer who has turned freelance and now wondering whether he has discovered a twin sister.

Says Graeme Smith, who used to cover the north-east of Scotland for The Herald, he is considering suggesting a DNA test to determine how closely related he might be to the agency journalist, on the grounds that an article she put out to papers, from the agency she works for, bears an uncanny resemblance to one he had produced.

It follows an exclusive story he gave to his former paper about the public sale of Edinburgh paintings by Lucy Dickens, the artist great-great-grand daughter of novelist, Charles Dickens.

He told “I am obviously still naive about how to earn a living as a freelance. Even the way we misplaced punctuation was identical and a minor date error was repeated. In a 584 word story, less than 40 words were not exactly as they appeared in The Herald.

“I am assuming that, as an NUJ freelance, she spoke to those involved which makes it all the more amazing because she chose to select exactly the same quotes as I did – not a word more or less.”

He is currently keeping quiet about the journalist's name and employer, for fear of embarrassing a relative.

He continued: “I may get in touch to see if she will undergo DNA testing to clarify if there is a family link or if this is just an amazing coincidence.

“Or perhaps it would be brotherly if, in future, I just sent copies of my stories to my ‘sister’ and she could forward them direct to potential customers . She could maybe spend the time she saves researching our family tree.”