I have returned to my life on this planet after having spent the last week glued to my television watching swimming. Thankfully, it's the only sport I truly love to watch, so as the Olympics move on, I can return to the world of blogging.
In my absence, I did manage to make it over to a friend's book launch and hang out with some three-dimensional people. There, I spoke with a friend about a recent experience he had with a reporter from a certain newspaper. He was interviewed for an article, but when he got the proof, the reporter had made up all kinds of quotes and taken a weird and unexpected slant on the article. As a freelancer who routinely interviews authors, I was appalled that a writer would do this. But my friend just shrugged and replied, "Hey, ink is ink."
I'm not naming names since I think it would be poor form and ultimately it doesn't matter. But the reporter is fairly well known and, in my opinion, should know better. To edit and chop up quotes is one thing (still not a fan of it), but to blatantly make them up is unacceptable. If I was in my friend's position, I'd be calling the publication and speaking with the executive editor. But he's not pissed. He's just happy to get his name in print.
Since I'm not a published author, I guess I don't know. A lot of authors I've spoken with have told me they'd rather get a bad review than no review at all. Is it better to have a reporter print lies as long as he spells your name right? Maybe I'm simply to anal or ethical as I wouldn't misquote interview subjects or make accusations that weren't true. Is this a common practice among feature writers?
I was still reeling from when my friend told me about his experience, but I just got a chance to read the actual article this morning. It was poorly written, choppy, and I could tell which quotes were fabricated. If the writer was going to make things up, he should have at least done it well. But hopefully, people will overlook the quality of writing and my friend will sell a few books. Because that's the whole point, right?