Monday, 8 February 2010

vetting

Do you let the people/organisation that your article is about see it before you e-mail it or post it off? I don't usually but this time one of them requested this. I have mixed feelings about this: it's good because they can pick up on any inaccuracies in statistics and names etc, but it's also very bad - especially when they think they are the editor and start rearranging your sentences!!

I'm not sure if I like it or not. I have bit my tongue on this occasion and just made some of the changes they requested - but not all! I wasn't going to blog about it but I was just wondering what other people's feelings on this one are. I think that I'm the one who knows the publications I'm writing for and I'm the writer not the interviewee! But then if the prerequisite of the organisation is that they want to see any articles written about them before they are subbed you are sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place I feel.

I could feel my hackles rise when I first saw the alterations they had made to my manuscript (in pink and underlined!) I felt I was back at school. Some of them I could accept because it was to do with their stats and how they refer to their workers  -  but a lot of it was spelling (of which I had spelt right!) I mean if they are going to add words to the manuscript they can at least make sure they are spelt correctly. And changing the sentences around and fiddling like that which I take as a personal affront!! I think it's actually quite rude - but maybe it's just me?  I haven't said anything to them as we've had a good working relationship up until now  and I don't want to upset that - it's not that much of a big deal in the grand scheme of things just an annoyance! I don't mind if an editor does it because that's their job! Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough  -  I did say that I had only sent the article for them to see out of courtesy as they had asked to see them and I asked them to check stats and data but nothing else.

I could have ignored the suggestions and gone with my original copy I suppose, but then they wouldn't have let me sub them. So it called for a bit of teeth gritting and diplomacy - something I'm particularly good at! But next time I'll be reluctant to do it unless whomever I'm writing about has a good reason as to why I should show it to them. I mean I am a professional writer - oooh there look I've gone and said it now! It would be like me telling them how to do their job wouldn't it?

Anyway, I sent them off last night and hope they will come back to me asap so I can sub them. I have other articles to be working on and I've worked on this particular set of articles for too long really - magazines are waiting for the subs! I feel the need to let them go and move on. Will keep you posted on how I get on.

Julie xx

9 comments:

  1. I always let subjects of interviews read the finished article before I send it off. I find it quite helpful because they can check that my interpretation of what they've said is the correct one. The only time I had to check with an organisation was when I wrote about the BBC, again it was quite helpful, because they suggested a couple of things I hadn't thought of.

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  2. Julie, I would be angry too, I was asked once to send what I had written but decided not too. I knew I had the facts and if they agree in the first place that should be enough. WE are the writers afterall!!
    Best wishes
    Di

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  3. Hi, Helen!

    I don't mind if they pick up on stats and facts that I've misinterpreted, but when they start to rewrite the thing, that's when I feel angry - as that's not what their role is. That will be the editors perogative when he receives the work. I've also found the process very time consuming as until they now read and make their comments on the two articles they are reading of mine I can't sub them! I have told them that I need them back asap - it's already taken longer than it should have but a lot of that was down to the bad weather and waiting to interview people.

    But I know I won't be sending them in for people to vet again unless they can give me a good reason why they should see it and on the understanding they look at it and return it to me pretty quickly - and they don't mess around with the writing style!

    Julie xx

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  4. Hi, Di!

    I'm still waiting for my flippin' articles to come back from them! It's so frustrating - I need to sub them asap. They may, of course, come back with minimal changes needed and they did pick up on a stat one of the people I interviewed got wrong and they corrected it which I was glad of. I'd asked the person how many branches they had and she said 17 when in fact there were 167!!! She was talking locally - not nationally as I requested! Misunderstanding really - but it wasn't a big problem and was soon rectified!

    I don't mind that, but when they start crossing out whole sentences and rewriting them, I don't think that's on! Maybe they are frustrated wannabe writers?! Or they have an urge to be a teacher?!!

    Anyway, I shall be glad when I can sub them and move on to something else!!

    Julie xx

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  5. The articles are back! Just some minimal changes - I can live with that - then I can sub them which I shall do tomorrow am after the school run. Wooh hooh!

    Julie xxx

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  6. Hi Julie

    I agree! If there's anything about the FACTS then by all means let them check, but don't let them rewrite. I often say to people that because I am a freelance writer, what I submit isn't always what is published. The editor has the final say, so the interviewee could make several changes, only to discover that the editor then changes it all and publishes the editor's version!

    So, if I let an interviewee read what I've written (rare) I make it quite clear that what they read may not end up being the final, published version. And because of that, there is little point in them titivating with anything other than the facts!

    Count to ten and then breathe out. That should help you calm down!

    Cheers

    Simon

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  7. Thank you, Simon!

    They did the same with the other article! Anyway - it will be interesting to see whether I can get these articles accepted or not! And what changes the editors will make if they do!

    I've told them that what ends up the mags might not be exactly as they like it and that the editors decision is final! Can't have a hissy fit at me then can they!

    They changed some of the facts too - when I'd copied the data from their own information they sent me - will have to pint that out to them!

    Tonight both articles will be gone! And I can breath a sigh of relief and get on with something else - I'm not convinced the mags will take them - but then I never am! We shall see

    Julie xx

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  8. The world is a funny place as are the people living in it.
    I have learned to go with the flow.
    The bottom line is to have it published as close to what you wanted to say originally, as possible.
    Good Luck :)

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  9. This is very true, A lady's life!

    That's why I didn't say anything to the person who read it as I think they was only trying to help - and it is about them and their organisation afterall - it just grated with me a little when I first saw the alterations - but then I thought hey ho!

    Anyway the most important thing is that the editor has accepted it and it will hopefully be in the next issue!

    Thanks for stopping by and please do call again, your comments are always welcome.

    Julie xx

    Julie

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