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How to Skiv without Getting Caught

The Art of Reading Newspapers 

and Other Things More Interesting than Work

What's Skivving?

Skivving is the art of reading newspapers and other interesting things at work while looking like you're doing your job. Since reading is often more refreshing than a coffee break, it oughtn't be a crime to do. But lots of bosses think anything that's not work is waste. You gotta fool them.

And you gotta fool company spies. Rather than reading papers on line (and leave a record of your travels for the company to examine), cruise the newspapers and magazines at home. Copy the articles off, paste them into Word, and take them to work on a disk. When finished, move the articles off your hard drive and back onto the diskette. Take the diskette home to delete the articles. (Companies cruise what's been deleted first when they're checking up on you.)

The Mechanics of Pasting

I'm a macro queen, so much of this process involves pushing two keys to get something complicated done. Whatever system you have, learn to make macros on it. It will reduce the amount of time it takes to find and save the articles you want for later reading.

When you find an article, click on the "printer friendly" option. Highlight the whole article, right click to copy. Go to your Word document and paste the text. At this point, I run a macro that also cleans up the document: it separates paragraphs, converts all to black-colored fonts, and narrows the margins (I find it easier to read a column only 3" wide).

What docname to do you save it as? You could do code ("News 1," "News 2") but that's hard to tell what the article is about. Easier is to just use "Save As" and take advantage of the fact that Word will create the document name out of the first line. Since that's the headline, you can easily find the article by the text that got your attention in the first place. Just be sure to remove any punctuation marks from the headline, or Word will truncate the title at the first one (e.g., an article titled "Don't get caught skivving at work" will be saved as "Don" -- not especially informative when you look at the directory.

TIP:  Don't record your own macro to save the document -- it will remember the last title that was shown in the document name slot and everything you get will overwrite the first document you saved. Gaaack! You can use the default save macro (Control+s, or the toolbar icon). That works because it doesn't "remember" the last entered text.

Directories:  I have a directory system that I like: the date, with subdirectories for each newspaper I'm saving from on that date. Helps me not go "what are you talking about" when I can know the source (I read all the out of town newspapers. They're generally better than our local one. Sorry, Chamber of Commerce!).

What Newspapers do I Read on Line?

AP Network News (updated all the time), Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, SFGate and the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The Contra Costa Times, a couple of local papers, sometimes New York Magazine.  Being a true crime junkie, I sometimes just have to visit Crime Library.

I also like to keep up with international papers, just because I like to see how others see us Merkins:  Globe and Mail (Canada), Mainichi Daily News (Japan) The Times (London).  It can be very educational.  

A really good source for newspapers is US Newspaper Links.   It has extra goodies like links to radio and television links alongside the newspapers -- a big help when you're trying to find a local station and you just don't know what the metropolitan area calls itself. 

CEOExpress is also a good news link (For all kinds of good stuff.  Just keep scrolling down the page.).  

Also try Yahoo and click on Regional on the main page.   Yahoo News and Media has a section listing the tabloids, if that's your guilty pleasure.  It's under "Newspapers."  

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