Monday, 14 April 2008

A reply from the Mail on Sunday

Booo, hisss, I'm no longer Blog of the Week. I'm officially last week's news. I'm old hat. My bubble's been burst. My parade's been rained on. Someones pissed on my bonfire. The party's over....but I'm still gonna blog about it.

Having discovered quite by accident that this blog had reached the realm of paper-not-from-my-printer last week, of course I was pleased. I was also, as you may have picked up, a bit disgruntled at it being edited and put in said paper without being told. A national paper has responsibilities both to the readers and the people it features; and I felt it had failed on the latter. So I did what I do best, I penned a letter. (ok, tapped an email. Same difference.)

To the letters editor,

My blog was featured in your paper on Sunday as Blog of the Week (
Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open). First of all I'd like to say thanks for choosing to feature it, I was pleased (and surprised) to see my writing in print in a national newspaper.

My only problem is that it does not appear to be your policy to alert the bloggers who you feature that their work is being published - surely this is common courtesy, as often it is pure chance that they discover their posts have been published anywhere apart from by themselves on the internet. Not only is this beneficial for the blogger (to give them a chance to at least buy the paper), but I feel this is particularly important to do if you intend on editing the content of the blogs you publish, which you did with mine, even if you are only altering the context and a few words. It's still someone elses work, and most bloggers appreciate an email either asking permission or at least telling them what you plan to do, if an email is provided (which mine is on the blog).

This may seem quite a minor detail for you, but I assure you that it is the first thought of all the bloggers I have spoken to who have been featured as Blog of the Week. Bloggers are a tight community where word (positive or negative) spreads quickly, and etiquette is important.

I would be interested to hear back from you, and if there is anyway I would be able to get a copy of Sunday's paper, that would be appreciated.



I was half expecting to hear back, but half not. So when I checked my email on Friday night and found a response, I thought 'Ah - good.' Just that. Ah, good. Bingo.

Dear Jo

First, can I say how much I appreciate you thanking The Mail on Sunday for featuring your blog.

I welcome you bringing to my attention your feelings - and those of other bloggers - regarding extracts being published in a paper without notice. I will be addressing this issue.

And, of course, you can have a copy of the paper. If you let me know your address I can send one in the post.

Yours sincerely

xxxxxx xxxxxxxx (a name, not kisses...that'd be weird)
Letters Editor

So with any luck, yesterday's Blog of the Week will have had the opportunity to get excited about seeing their writing in print, to either hide or buy enough copies to cover friends and family. Also, thank god I've been suitably discreet about where I work. Anyone can read this. Would I have ok'ed the posts they published in the paper (i.e. work related gripes) if they'd checked with me first? Probably not. Who knows.

I suppose it's a lesson learnt; a reminder that you should never trick yourself into thinking that blogs are only read by other bloggers. Social networking is all the rage; they're the websites which form the basis for newspaper reports. After all, thanks to facebook, reporters are now afforded the ability to quote the dead. Unless you set it to private, deny all comments and disable google listings, all your blog is is a form of social networking; minus the privacy and blocking options you'd get with other methods and open to anyone who wants to read.

I was surprised that a newspaper had come across it. But who am I kidding? Anyone with a google search box can find this thing. And that means my friends, family, work colleagues, even my dogs with a bit of team work and paw dexterity (fact. no, really, my dogs are well clever). I'm not saying people should write with an audience in mind (indeed the best ones are those that don't), but it's worth considering that when you post, you're not just putting something out into (that god awful word coming up) the Blogosphere, but into the public domain. All this blogosphere's a bit misleading. It's all internet.

So who knows, my email above might go some way to giving bloggers a little bit more privacy in public, even if that is the paradox of the century.


Boy said...

Eek. It does scare me a lot, as I have an anonyblog. If people I knew read the blog there's every chance my balls would be swiftly removed from body, cooked, and served up in a school.

Congrats again though :D

Robbie said...

Man, I so wish that they were kisses. Thatd be great.

Hoorah for free papers.

Reluctant Blogger said...

urghh what a terrible not-far-from standard letter response. But well done for trying. Your letter was great.

I disabled Google/search engine searches on my blog when I moved it but I do know it doesn't prevent this sort of thing. But I cannot tell you how angry I would be if my blog were presented in any newspaper, but particularly that one, without my permission.

But yes, it is a good warning to us all to be careful about the things we reveal on our blogs, particularly with regard to work.

London-Lass said...

Oo .. you know I never thought of writing to the Mail on Sunday re. my blog so glad to see you were a bit more proactive than me when it comes to the ole complaining malarky. But, like you say, it is a blog. It is `out there'. And, for that reason, we dont really have a leg to stand on.

Miss Understood said...

Good for you for taking the time to write to them. Many wouldn't have bothered and just moaned about it.

The thought still terrifies me!

Skinny Girl said...

Ooohh, that is very cool!! You is famous!

surviving myself said...

it was so kisses.

don't lie.

Anonymous said...

The letters' editor does not really have the best written skills I've seen.

Marika said...

Fabulous email, and good on them for their response.

pawpads said...

It's true. I suppose I have paw dexterity, what with my name and whatnot.

It's a shame, but sometimes I write a post and then end up deleting it for fear of someone reading it and figuring out that it was all about them.

Good on you for writing to the paper though ~ shame you got a bog standard reply back though.

Nat said...

Nice letter you typed out there. Congrats on being blog of the week too.

It would of been amusing if they really were kisses. Ha ha.

At least if nothing else you are scoring a free paper for your letter effort. :)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

boy - yes i expect there would be trouble in your case!

robbie - No such affection I'm afraid.

reluctant - indeed. you can never be too careful, or vague.

londonlass - Thats the thing - do we have a leg to stand on? Even if it's a teeny tiny little skinny one?

miss - When something annoys me, I write. Even better if I have an address to write to!

skinnygirl - autographs in the post

surviving - have you read the daily mail before? ;)

anon - Ahh, but do normal letter writing rules apply in email?

marika - and good on them for actually sending the paper...received it yesterday.

pawpads - I'm not sure what else I was expecting. I don't think half of these newspaper editors know much about actual blogging really. Only that its the 'thing to do' at the moment.

Nat - I did indeed get a week old, free paper with WASTE printed on the front, hehe. It's all good though.

What was awkward was explaining why I had a week old copy of the Daily Mail sent to me. I told her a blog I write on was featured in it and I wanted to read it. Keep it vague peeps, keep it vague.

Rol said...

Well done on taking a stand - I couldn't be arsed, but that's the story of my life really. (Plus, I didn't want to draw any more attention to the fact that I'd been featured in the bleeding MOS!)

Mosher said...

Check out Johnny's page: here. He had much the same thing happen, wrote to complain, demanded payment for his work... and got it.

Public domain or not, your work is copyright under UK law. Reprinting it without your permission is *not* allowed, by default. £200 is a nice amount in your pocket :)


Blog Template by - RSS icons by ComingUpForAir