Wednesday, November 18, 2009


the story i talked about before is out (in finnish only, unfortunately) and some of my new readers are here because of it.

first of all: welcome! i hope you enjoy and return.

as much as i'd love to say i was happy with the article, i must confess disappointment. what bothers me most is that i was promised a chance to edit the text if necessary, but the final print version turned out to be significantly different from the one that i accepted. infuriating. what's the point of asking if you're not going to respect the answers?

to begin with corrections, my bald head is not a trademark of any sort. as my readers know, i am very interested in trends – as phenomena, that is. moreover, there were photos of me and my clothes here before the bald head – just not of my face.

my main concern comes down to especially the issue of privacy that was accentuated repeatedly. the alterations made after the version i saw enhance the merging of two separate ideas: my reason for talking behind a pseudonym and the topics i choose to discuss became a weird, almost paranoid sort of symbiotic "privacy" although they are two very different things.

first, i discuss my blog from the cover of an alias because it is the project of that alias. i want to keep my real life persona and the blogger separate. the main motivation for the practical separation is modest, though, and comes down to google hits: in this clever world of interweb, names and sites become associated rather quick. in addition to my real self and my blogger identity, i have a professional (ex-)academic self. people usually look me up because of professional reasons and i do not wish them to end up in my blog. it's not because i was ashamed of the content – i list the blog on my cv –, but because my academic work was politically sensitive and i still receive threatening letters to my old university department. additionally, my old university email address's powerful spam filter wasn't there for no reason. needless to say, i do not want those people here – my blog is a harassment free zone. therefore, i do my best to keep this site and my real name separated online. nothing dramatic or secretive there, then.

second, and something that i did want to point out in the interview: i do not discuss certain areas about my life here because i don't think they're anybody's business but my own and whoever are associated. i believe that once something is exposed here it becomes the property of readers to comment on. hence, my relationship and my friends are not something i share, simple as that. being associated in the print version of the story to readers who wish to stalk fashion bloggers and their personal lives made me extremely uncomfortable. there's nothing worth stalking here...

therefore, "careful and strict about her privacy" comes down to two very different and separate issues.

funny that my biggest concern after the interview was how the photo would turn out because the photographer felt slightly unreliable – and it turned out great. my worries should have been directed somewhere else entirely... little did i know.

edit: i got some clarification on the issue and i feel for the journalist. her own side and interesting info in the comments. see yerselves.


Ilona said...

Some comments from the journalist:

Although this matter has now been discussed with Stellagee, I want to share this "everyday life as a freelancer"-story with the readers too.

As Stellagee mentioned, she was given full right to comment and correct the interview I made for MeNaiset. After we had our little cup of coffee and chat, I wrote the article and sent it to Stellagee so she could check it as we had agreed. She did have some things she wanted to change and as I had promised, I changed every single thing she asked for. I then sent the article to the magazine and waited for my favourite bloggers to appear in the press...

But what happened? Some kind of information break between the editorial staff and me, as I never saw the version that was printed. In the printed version my text (which had been approved by the editorial staff) has been edited with a _rough_ hand and unofortunately, also Stellagees interview has been changed. I won't go into details but also the atmosphere or style had been changed too, which I only learnt about today (thanks Stellagee for sending me feedback :) ).

Now..editing the text that a journalist sends is a very normal procedure. But usually and especially with interviews, rough edits are sent back to the journalist so he/she can check out the facts. For some reason, this didn't happen with this article. I don't why, I don't think anyone did it on purpose but I do think it sucks. It sucks as a writer and it obviosly suck as a interviewee. But all I can say is that for whatever reason, it did happen. And sometimes theres just nothing that a lousy freelancer can do..

Sugar Kane said...

Well, well, well. Having appeared in the print version of the same article, I share your frustration - the point of view (POV to its friends) of the finished article is not even close to what I agreed to: for instance, I emphatically DO NOT blog about my personal life, so I just don't understand what the writer's "stalkerish" motivation has to do with either of our blogs. Also,the piece emphasized the shopping and consumerist aspect of fashion, that play a tiny, if any sort of role in MY relationship to fashion. In short, I felt the writer wasn't interested in or really listened to what I had to say about the subject matter, but rather used my "blogging persona" as a tool to discuss her own agenda.

I also work as a freelance journalist and am very familiar with the hazards of dealing with editors. Sometimes they cut the text crudely, sometimes they make changes just before going to print. I'm quite anal about language (Finnish, mind you) and constantly surprised, if not outraged, that people who choose journalism as their profession, often are not that interested in the workings and nuances of our mother-tongue.

I've learned to make extra sure I quote my interviewees right and let "their own voices be heard" in my pieces, so I really get mad if someone changes quotes later - which good editors never, ever do, they rather cut the journo's babbling.

THEN again, I've also worked as the evil editor, and unfortunately not every so-called journalist is able to produce coherent text, so drastic cuts and re-writing is often needed. "Kill your darlings" is still the best advice for any aspiring writer...

I've learned a lot from this episode. Most importantly, if my name is to appear in print, from now on it'll be as the writer, not the subject.

stellagee said...

ilona, thanks for clearing that up. and yup, it sucks, and i can only imagine what it feels like to have text you did not approve of printed with your name on it. how do they imagine journalists stand behind their work if they don't have control over it?

sugar kane, i also wondered the context my interview was placed in and as someone who most definitely does not provide anything worthy of stalking, i felt odd placed next to an article describing fashion blog readers as interested in the private lives of the writers...

i learned through my academic work to be careful with quotations and checking them every single time, but despite being careful i have had my research ripped off by a less ethically inclined albeit reputable journalist. that really sucked.

Anna said...

Onnea kuitenkin vielä medianäkyvyydestäsi - ja kuvahan on ihan mahtava!

Freetoimittajan ongelmat on tuttuja mullekin: mitään dramaattista ei mulle ole ikinä sattunut, mutta useaan kertaan on monesti pitänyt varmistella, että varmasti oikea versio artikkelista löytää tiensä painoon.

Joskus taannoin saatoin kyllä toisaalta myös ihmetellä, miten pilkuntarkkoja haastateltavat olivat sanamuodoista jne. kun he tekstiäni tarkistivat. Aloin ymmärtää tarkkuutta ja epäluuloisuutta ihan toiseen malliin kun loppukesästä ja alkusyksystä olin kirjani tiimoilta useiden toimittajien haastateltavana. Minua siteerattiin usein aivan pieleen ja suuhuni laitettiin niin karkeita asiavirheitä, että sellaisten painamisesta olisi taatusti ollut haittaa jo teoksen myynnille! Sillä millaiselta vaikuttaa tietokirjailija, joka lehtihaastattelussa väittää kahvin tulleen Suomeen 1960-luvulla??? (tietenkään en näin ollut haastiksessa sanonut, mutta tällaisessa asussa toimittaja olisi kommenttini lehteen laittanut, ellen olisi saanut tilaisuutta korjata tätä suurehkoa ajoituksellista virhettä...) Lopulta tulin itsekin kauhean epäluuloiseksi haastisten suhteen - ja koin itse asiassa radiohaastikset parhaana. Tietty niitäkin voi leikellä, mutta periaatteessa sanoin kuitenkin just niin kuin sanoin (sama myös suorassa tv-lähetyksessä: riskinä oli tietenkin näyttäytyä ihan hölmönä, mutta toisaalta saattoi olla varma, että puheeni tulee ulos sellaisenaan).

stellagee said...

anna, kiitos, heh.

mulla ei ole kokemusta haastattelijana olemisesta eikä siis myöskään toisten lainaamisesta – paitsi akateemisessa kontekstissa, jossa tarkkuuden pitää olla sellaista luokkaa mitä ei varmaan muualla vaadita. virhelainauksesta kun saa heti köniinsä ja vapaasta tulkinnasta samoin. tutkijana kasvaa väistämättä huolellisuuteen ja kun siihen yhdistää alan, jolla kieli on äärimmäisen merkittävässä asemassa, voi sanoa, että mä olen varmasti aika piinaava haastateltava tarkkuuden osalta...

toisaalta viilaaminen kuitenkin palautuu loppupeleissä siihen, että vaikka ihmiset ymmärtävät lukemansa helposti toisin kuin se on tarkoitettu, niin mikäli voi itse allekirjoittaa julkaistun, niin on helpompi puolustaa näkemystään sekä erimielisyyttä että väärinymmärrystä vastaan.