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Dealing with an AWOL Editor

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by anotherbucket4monsieur, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. I'm wondering how to deal with an editor that doesn't return e-mail or voice mails. Two weeks ago, I pitched a story to the S/e at a mid-sized daily newspaper. He seemed interested and asked that I follow up with a short e-mail providing a synopsis of the story. I did so and we soon agreed upon a price and deadline. I sent him the story a day before it was due and got a quick reply that he'd look at it and get back to me the following day. I waited three days and then left him a voice mail. Nothing. I followed up with an e-mail four days after that ( today) and again heard nothing. I checked the guy's twitter feed and I see that he's been very active the entire week I've been waiting to hear from him.

    I assume he doesn't like the story but now I've already invested a lot of time in it, and it's a feature story pegged to an event that has now passed, so it'll be hard to pitch it elsewhere at this point. If the editor had told me right away that he didn't like it, I might have had a good shot at selling it to another publication. Now I"m not sure. Any thoughts on how to handle this situation? Should I make a last ditch effort to sell it elsewhere or hold out hope this editor will communicate with me at some point?
  2. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    He's just not into you.

    Move on, try to sell it to another place.
  3. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    There are no more editors. We've all been laid off.
  4. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    If you agreed on a price, is that a de facto contract? Or only if its published? Did you have to sign a stringer agreement and have you ever written for them before? You did the work...if they agreed on a price you may be able to collect if they run it or not.
  5. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    This is silly...shop your story around until you strike a clear deal somewhere...if the SE doesn't act quick enough, then he misses out. I'm sure he'll be heart broken.
  6. I'll try to shop it for sure. But the event the story was pegged to ended more than a week ago now so it'll be tough. I didn't sign a stringer agreement, and have not worked for them before. We did agree on a price and deadline, and there was no mention of it being a spec assignment. Magazines will give you a kill fee, but I assume newspapers have no such thing.
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Magazines, yes. Newspapers, it's relatively unheard-of.

    By the way, I think it would be fair to name the newspaper that you're dealing with. If you had a verbal agreement, and you performed the work, it might spare others the same trouble. Conversely, it might encourage the newspaper to share its side of the argument.

    We take no one at face value in this business.
  8. I will once the dust settles.
  9. I concur. If you agreed on a price, and you met his deadline, he's bought the story. What he does with it after that is his call. Stay on him and remind him you haven't been paid yet. (I assume you haven't been.) If he tells you they changed their minds about running it, go up the ladder to his boss, ME or whatever. No newspaper should operate so shoddily.

    And if they still refuse to pay, out them on this board. You'll be doing us all a favor.
  10. Dan Hickling

    Dan Hickling Member

    Send an invoice for the amount agreed upon ... and if you have an email documenting the agreement, make sure you hang on to it ...
  11. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Definitely. You lived up to your end of the agreement, doing the story and meeting the deadline. I assume there was no caveat that if they don't run the story, you don't get paid.

    Even if the story was a trainwreck, you tried repeatedly to check back on the status of things, at which point you should have been told what the problems were and given a chance to correct them.

    Send an invoice with the e-mail agreement attached and cc his managing editor.
  12. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Unless there was an agreed-upon kill fee, send your invoice to him and copy the other managers.

    You did your job. Badger them if you must, but make them hold up their end of the bargain.
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