This year, during an annual Oscar party we attend, a friend who had just started writing for the Wall Street Journal was going back and forth with his new editors about how to report on Seth Macfarlane’s song, “We Saw Your Boobs.” Turns out, the word “boobs” is not generally in the Wall Street Journal’s lexicon. I can’t remember how they resolved it, but it delayed his live-blogging of the event by nearly an hour. “You’re in the Big Leagues now, son. We don’t cotton to namin’ women’s privates in our revered publication, even your silly little online section.”
I learned this lesson the hard way myself just this past week. As bloggers, we tend to toss off whatever bon mots occur to us, post them on our sites, then sit back and wait for the comments and “likes” to pour in. Journalistic integrity? I’m a blogger. It’s all just fun and games anyway.
So, last Wednesday evening, I submitted my second article to the Huffington Post, which I was eager to have go on the site on Thursday morning, especially since the first one had been such a rocking success.
By Thursday evening, I had no response from the HuffPo blog team, so I sent a “did you get it?” email. They sent a reply Friday at 10:30 a.m., but somehow it got trapped in the Internet ether and didn’t arrive in my inbox until 3:45. This is what it said:
Thanks for your recent submission to The Huffington Post! Before moving forward, we’d like to request some additional sourcing for statements / facts in the piece. I’ve included them below. At your convenience, if you could provide sourcing for the following, that would be great! I’ve included the HuffPost sourcing guidelines for your convenience.
1. “Dear Abby wrote that you should never go out with anyone who is nice to you but mean to the waitress. She also said to use the restroom whenever you get the chance, because you might not get another.”
Could you please send a source we could link to for each of these Dear Abby anecdotes? We’d like to link to them. We could also remove the reference, if you prefer.
So…yeah…there it is. Without thinking about the difference between my little blog and a multimillion dollar subsidiary of a publicly traded company, I made a reference for which I did not provide a citation.
That’s not to say it was wrong – I distinctly remember reading both of those things in Dear Abby, but that was at least 30 years ago, and hours of Internet searching could not find any searchable Dear Abby archives that old, so I let it go, changed the sentence and re-submitted the article. My goal of posting every Thursday was thwarted on the very next Thursday after the first one. It was my fault. I forgot I was in the Big Leagues.
Yes, as bloggers we should all be following the rules of responsible journalism, but some folks have to be more sticklers than others because they have more to protect, and are more likely to get called out, and if we want to write for them, we have to respect that, whether we’re talking about Dear Abby or Meryl Streep’s boobs.
So, lesson learned (hopefully). This Thursday’s post is about my unique relationship with Brad Pitt, and you can bet your sweet ass it will be linked and cited to the hilt. Why risk losing momentum now? Especially after blowing it right out of the gate.
And next week, back to the regularly planned schedule – an original SpeakHappiness.com post on Monday, a re-blog on Tuesday, a HuffPo post on Thursday, and Happy Quotes on Saturday and Sunday.
Unless, you know…life gets in the way, or the Big Leagues throw me a new curve ball.