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Column published, then pulled... your reactions

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Rick Shanley, Mar 30, 2008.

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  1. Rick Shanley

    Rick Shanley Member

    I'm a freelance contributor with a steady Division I college hockey beat. My sports editor asked me to write a column about the school's decision to retain its hockey coach, so I did. I wrote what's been on everyone's mind for a long time. The column was published on the paper's web site around 3 a.m., but eventually spiked at 8 a.m. after a morning editor found it "too harsh." The editor also questioned my sources and process for writing the column (without consulting me).

    Executives then informed our sports editor that they had been "discussing" a policy for the past couple of months whereby freelancers would be prohibited from writing columns, but failed to inform my editor of such discussions.

    As you might imagine, the column was online long enough to be read by people and once it was removed became blog/forum/chat fodder that grew to hefty proportions. I was even asked to be on a local sports radio show to talk about it.

    I am completely floored (and pissed) that the paper would do this. Anyone else have a similar experience? Thoughts?
  2. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I've had my publisher come in and tell me I couldn't run the column I'd written. It's part of life.

    Having said that, if I can't use a story, I'll tell the writer why I can't use it. And if there are problems, I'm explaining them to the writer.

    I wrote another column about half an hour later and he walked in saying, "for a column you wrote quickly, this is pretty damn good." He then jokingly asked me if I kept that column in storage.
  3. Rick Shanley

    Rick Shanley Member

    What gets me is that it was originally published, then pulled. The subjects of the column maintain they had nothing to do with it.
  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Post it here for all to see. [/Wallace Matthews]
  5. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I'm really curious. I wouldn't want you to get in trouble, but can you post it?
  6. markvid

    markvid Guest

    He's already used his name, can't out himself.
    However, you do wonder about copyright issues if he puts it here.
  7. Are you the only freelancer on staff? Are you the only freelancer who writes a column or is this your first try at an opinion piece?
    Who is "everyone?" I know city councilman - and parents - who refer to "everyone" as the five people they have coffee with every Thursday at Hardees!

    We had a kid (20 or so) who worked part-time with us briefly (a month, tops). Two weeks in -- on the SE and ASE's off days -- the paper publishes a column by the kid on the coaching situation at a local high school. Bad. Bad MOVE.
    The column was poorly written, poorly researched and as one-sided as a duct tape. There was simply no way someone who worked for us - it was also his first job - for less than two weeks should be allowed to pen a column. We caught flak from a lot of people for his column.

    You need to be a little more specific in your situation, unless you are simply looking for validation of your feelings and not honest opinion.
  8. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Does anyone else question the wisdom of starting a thread like this using a real name, particularly if the writer wants to keep his freelance gig? Seems like someone at the paper might not love this.
  9. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member


    The Bad Idea Bears say, "Post it! Post the column!"
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    The Bad Idea Bears discover that speed is a helluva drug.
  11. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    i'd love to see the column, but yeah, it's a bad idea to post it here.
  12. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    There's always PMs.
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