The first topic was easy to decide upon. Nathan Bransford, whose blog I've read and enjoyed for quite some time, announced Friday that he was stepping away from his position as an agent to take a job with CNET. While I wish Mr. Bransford success, I shall miss his blogs about the industry, especially his weekly round-up. You can find his announcement here.
Then came the topic that showed just how powerful the internet can be. On Thursday, Monica Gaudio recounted on Live Journal how something she'd written in 2005 had been published by Cooks Source Magazine without permission and without remuneration. (I've linked to her LJ and not just the article because the subsequent posts are as interesting as the original as she recounts now the story took on a life of its own.) Like most of us, she contacted the magazine -- several times -- before hearing back. It is the editor's response to Monica that caused all the furor and ignited the internet in righteous indignation.
Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was "my bad" indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things. But honestly Monica, the web is considered "public domain" and you should be happy we just didn't "lift" your whole article and put someone else's name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me... ALWAYS for free!
But it gets better, boys and girls. After the magazine's facebook page was inundated with outraged posts from people who had learned of what happened from a myriad of sources indluding John Scalzi (who wins the prize for the best headline -- The Stupidest Thing an Editor With Three Decades of Experience Has Said About the Web Today) to Time Newsfeed to BoingBoing to Neil Gaiman retweeting about it, the editor of Cooks, Judith Griggs, supposedly posted this comment on the magazine's fb page: