I wanted to do something a little different with this post and I need your help. Basically I wanted my reader’s opinion on a situation that occurred to me the other day.
As many of you know, in addition to writing nutrition articles for my own magazine, Oasis, I also do semi-regular freelance work for another publication in the city called Cairo West. While I was preparing an invoice earlier this week for my last few submissions, I thought it would be good to confirm they’d been published. When I looked at my article in their January issue, I noticed that some text was missing. Here’s an excerpt of what was published.
This may not cause the average person’s eyebrows to raise, but I couldn’t help but notice some text that was conspicuously absent. Below is the text I submitted (with yellow highlights around the missing text.
Without getting too critical in how I decided to convey my message in the original text (in retrospect, I probably could’ve written that a bit better), has not the elimination of the highlighted text COMPLETELY changed the overall message? In the article I wanted to acknowledge that certain beliefs exist regarding eating seasonal, local produce, but that there is no scientific consensus on the validity of these beliefs. Removing that qualification on the statement above implies that I endorse these claims.
Part of my annoyance with the situation is that Cairo West editors are big proponents of dubious dietary practices and have run numerous articles alongside mine extolling the virtues of “natural health cures” for various ailments. Basically I feel like their own beliefs have influenced their edits to my article.
I also come at the whole situation from a bit of a different perspective, because as a magazine editor myself, I regularly modify text submitted by my contributors. I’ve never had formal training in what is appropriate to cut/add,etc., but I always do my best to keep the essence of our writer’s messages intact. And if I feel like I might have changed anything significantly, I will send back the edits to the authors to review and approve the changes.
BUT… maybe I’m overreacting???
Have any other dietitians out there experienced this sort of thing before? If so, how did you handle it?
What about from the editing perspective? Would editors consider this type of edit fair game? Or did it go too far?
Leave your feedback in the comments section. I’m really curious what others think. Thanks!