Archive for April, 2011


Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

From the J-listserv of the National Writers Union of which this writer is a member:

Dear NWU Journalism list members (hoping you’re still out there!),

I recently published an article with a music magazine–a profile of an up-and-coming artist. Unfortunately, two factual errors turned up in the published piece. One was a misunderstanding between the editor and me; the other was an honest oversight on my part. It was (understandably) embarrassing to me. I later received an email from the artist, who said (rightly) that I had never run the final draft by her before submission. If I had, the errors would have been caught. The reason I didn’t run it by the artist was mostly due to my own ego: I was trying to stay “objective,” to play the role of a “professional” journalist. The piece, however, was not so much a review as a profile, so my opinion played only a small part. Nonetheless, I wish now I had run the piece by the artist.

My question is, what are the ethics or proper conduct in consulting the artist? It seemed to me the artist and I, after hours of interviewing, had formed a nice relationship. Then by my “professional” behavior, I built a wall between us. Should I have just forgotten the damn “etiquette” and shown the artist the draft? It would have prevented the problems.

I will appreciate all good input.

His name is not important. But he was concerned about issues that are universal. This writer’s response:


March Madness: Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

“You’re anal,” concluded a student in one of my writing classes after I told her I wasn’t accepting her late class assignment. It’s clear in the class guidelines that first drafts of story assignments must be turned in on time or the grade for the assignment is F. But she seemed to believe, for reasons I didn’t understand, that I would overlook her serious omission. Well, said a student in another news writing class, we feel that the class is disorganized. We show up we and we never know what to expect.

These were the most notable comments in the face-to-face meetings I scheduled with my student writers in March. This semester, like the others, many didn’t read the syllabus nor the assignment guidelines and many came to class unprepared. Some can’t or won’t follow simple directions.

They, like many before them, Do the DUH a lot.