Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before even though I have previously wanted to. I called an editor and complained about how one of my published columns was edited.
House Proud runs in the Toronto Sun first and then it’s open season on it for any Sun Media property. I get email from readers in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and any number of small towns where it has been published. Once it’s open to the other editors they can run whichever one they want. They don’t have to put them in the order in which they originally ran. It’s up to them.
Yesterday it was brought to my attention that one of these columns was running in a paper and the person who wrote (the first of many) to me was expressing their disdain for my negativity. So I looked up the column and YIKES! It had been edited down to a shadow of its former self with virtually every ounce of balance and context removed. Now, I don’t mind when people complain. They’ll crab about the most benign and bland thing you write while letting the truly opinionated stuff get a pass. I learned that long ago. But I felt misrepresented by the editing process.
So the editor and I had a nice lighthearted chat and I felt better after expressing my disappointment. I also learned a bit more about the job of editor.
I suppose I did complain about an editing job once before, long ago and far away, when a new editor had taken over a small music-based publication for whom I wrote. In that instance the editor completely rewrote my article but left my name on the byline. My suggestion was that if she was going to do a total rewrite – which was her right, I suppose – she should really take my name off of it. Or add hers to it. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she flipped out over my “challenge to her authority”. She was fired shortly thereafter and as a result of her screaming and name calling I, understandably, until yesterday, had become a little shy about speaking up over the handling of my work.