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Here's a new Internet-based question ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    First of all, for all those who know who I am, I actually have no specific story in mind, and this is a hypothetical, not based on a current real-life situation. The question came up in the context of something else. And it also occurred to me also based on the BASW thread.

    I work on the 'Net. In the course of a normal story or column, I might do updates or tweaks or minor corrections 10 times (hopefully not that many, because then it means it wasn't edited very well in the first place, but you get the point).

    OK, we're now allowed to be associate members of APSE, for example, and someday, there might be a place -- maybe a separate category or whatever -- for us in the writing contest.

    Now, say I'm looking through columns for possible contest entries, and I find a really good one from a couple of months back -- but it has a typo in the third paragraph.

    Am I obligated to enter it in the form it was in on the original day of publication? Or can I fix the typo, which I would in the course of business as usual anyway if I found a mistake on the site, no matter how old that story is.

    This is hardly life or death -- although this narrow thread might die quickly -- but some might find it an interesting question ethics-wise.
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    You didn't catch it then - don't catch it now. But I could be wrong. I'd think it would have to be entered as it appeared for MOST of its time online.
    Warts and all.
    I'm not married to this, however, and can be easily swayed.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    It seems like it's defeating the purpose of the Internet's flexible form not to be able to fix a mistake when you catch it. At some point we're going to have to address that.

    For the purposes of this type of award, however -- the print writers have to enter a story as it appeared, and I don't see why an online writer shouldn't have to follow the same guidelines.

    Because where's the line between fixing a typo and rewriting the fourth graf ... just because you can?

    Like Moddy, I can be swayed. But I think you should enter it as-is.
  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    If it were in the section judging, I'd have a problem with changing anything at all. In theory, I'd have no problem with fixing a typo for an entry in a story category because if a different editor had worked the story, or the same editor having a better day, it would have been caught, so why should the writer be punished? But then where do you draw the line? Let's just tweak this lede a little, update this section of the takeout with the benefit of hindsight, and oh, I just thought of a better ending.
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    For the record, I and my boss both pretty much agree that if it wasn't edited in the course of normal production for that particular column's publication -- I guess in the window of a day or two -- then going back and fixing it when you're looking for contest material is not fair game.
  6. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    SF, I would agree that at this point, it probably shouldn't be changed.

    But if it gets to the point where it IS a separate competition -- Web-based copy only -- you might ask for a ruling from APSE. Because if you all want to play by the same rules, maybe that's an opening you all may want to have.
  7. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Yeah, apparently, whether we get into an APSE contest at all, and in what form, might be discussed at the judging meetings.
  8. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I know in my state, the top smaller paper got in a shitload of trouble when one of their AMEs was caught updating stories after the publication date and entering them in the state press awards. He's out of the business, I believe. But that's a newspaper too.
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Well, to be sinister about it, because it's the Web only, unless you had an unlikely confluence of events where somebody connected to the judging printed the original column out, or remembered the typo or whatever, and then saw it had been changed, it'd be unlikely that post-editing would be caught. And absent that printout, it's be a matter of one word against another.

    So it'd have to be strictly honor system.
  10. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Depending on manpower and time, they could also go to archive.org and do a search on the site on the day the story was published. But I don't know how reliable that is (I've been to it a handful of times and they don't always have the page for the day I'm looking for).
  11. Jam3131

    Jam3131 Member

    That's the problem though - and not to be mean to anybody on this board, but do you believe in the honor system when it comes to fellow scribes? I cannot speak from experience, since I have not entered any competitions, but I am sure those that have would love to take another crack at stories - and in this instance, I can totally see people doing that.

    Just my opinion.
  12. Eagleboy

    Eagleboy Guest

    What if you submitted the column, story, etc. and you outlined, in the submission, that there's a typo in the third paragraph? Something that draws the attention to the mistake so that someone, at a later stage, can change "baout" to "about". You don't want it to run in the book, should it be chosen, but of course, you don't want to run the risk of putting on a new ending.
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