The Daily Dahl -- Sunday Edition
8th September, 2013
Today I'm featuring an article I read some time ago. The story is interesting enough, but the reader reaction to a piece in The Atlantic is what I want to focus on. It goes to prove the importance of knowing your readership, and maintaining proper courtesies in journalism.
Article Title:The Loveliest Short Story You Will Read Today Was Published on Craigslist
Found at The Atlantic (via Flipboard for iPad)
Originally written by Chris Heller
published August 9, 2013
I was drawn to this article to read another serendipitous publishing story - those are my favorite. What I found was thought-provoking uproar from the original author's readers. Chris Heller writes about a stranger's love struggle posted on Craigslist. The short story is the creative outpour of a man's grief over his failed attempts to speak to a woman on a train. The short story "Missed Connection" is quite imaginative and emotional. Heller describes it as, "a sad, lovely story in an unexpected place." Heller goes on to say, "the story needs a good editor, and several more drafts" along with other criticisms of the short story.
Scrolling down the comment section, a heated debate caught my attention. Readers were upset about Heller's criticism of the story, especially since it was evident he made no attempts to contact the original author of the story, but went on to write about his story without the poor, heartbroken author's knowledge. And the fact Heller posted the full story in his article while writing little of his own interpretation or discussion really upset the readers.
So here's what I've learned: readers really do care about an article's sources, and they definitely don't want to read any plagiarized material. I'm impressed. It's wonderful to see readers that care about the ethics of writing and journalism. It's also a bit terrifying for me. I mean, Heller acted within his legal rights didn't he? Yet he upset and possibly lost potential readers of The Atlantic, or at least his own articles. Writing can be a tricky business. I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy for Heller. However, he chooses not to respond to his readers comments and I think that's pathetic. It's okay to admit fault or mistake in one's own writing. Reading this made me think of my own writing. Have I ever been unethical, and what would be the proper response? Am I perpetuating this very issue in my current writing?
I'd be SO happy to hear from my readers concerning this article. What upsets you most about the blogs, articles, news, etc you hear and read today? What do you think of Heller's article - was he wrong to publish the short story, and would it have been different if he hadn't included a full version of the story in his article?
Personally, I agree with the readers. The short story shines amidst the clutter of Craigslist, hence why Chris Heller sought it out. Heller's criticism of it was harsh and he would have been better to spend more time reflecting about the story itself rather than its faults.
Heller, Chris. "The Loveliest Short Story You Will Read Today Was Published on Craigslist." The Atlantic. Ed. Bob Cohn. N.p., 9 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Aug. 2013. <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/08/the-loveliest-short-story-you-will-read-today-was-published-on-craigslist/278533/>.