Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Article I Didn't Write

When I write an article for the school paper, and it's printed with my name in the byline, I expect the majority of what is printed to be what I wrote.  I understand that articles get edited.  Words and sentences are changed for clarity and things get rearranged to make more sense.

But when the only parts that I wrote of the published article are the highlighted sections you see below, I see that as a problem.

This is the second article I've written for the school paper.  The first one was edited, and I expected that.  I hadn't been able to get the information for the angle the paper wanted me to take, so I wrote the article with what I had.  This article was a follow-up using the information I had wanted in the first place.

They didn't even keep the headline the same, or my lead!  The two most important parts of the article, and they changed them.

Please tell me why the lead, 
"Some students think the STU cafeteria should carry local and sustainable foods.  Sarah-Jane of the STU and UNB group, Campus Food Strategy, says STU's campus is not doing well,"
 is better than my lead: 
"Food security, food sovereignty, and sustainable foods are hot issues, so what is STU's cafeteria doing about them?  Sadly, not a whole lot."  
Don't get me wrong, they're both good leads, but why replace a good lead with a good lead?

What bothers me the most is the part I have highlighted in blue.  The blue sections, and the yellow in between them, is what the school paper quoted my interviewee as saying.  However, only the middle yellow part is what she ACTUALLY SAID.  A newspaper, of all things, should know that you can't fabricate a quotation.  The sentence as I wrote it was, "Sarah-Jane of Campus Food Strategy explained that for our cafeteria, right now it's 'pretty much impossible to support sovereignty' for a couple of reasons."

Not only did they change whole sections, but they left out interesting information, like how the cafeteria was willing to have a day where the menu featured local food, or that we have a greenhouse available to grow food, or how the campus pub is willing to buy the food we grow.

I feel cheated in a way, or like I'm somewhere between being lied to and being the liar.  If they changed THAT MUCH of my article, shouldn't they have least consulted me about it?  Instead I feel insulted.

Why is my name in the byline?  I didn't write this.

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