Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WikiLeaks & A Tale Of Two Editors

Should classified American diplomatic cables have been published by WikiLeaks? The short answer is no. In my view their publication does far more harm than good. If the intent of WikiLeaks was to stir up trouble for the Americans and other countries then WikiLeaks has accomplished it.

That isn't to say that I always believe classified documents should not be release that have relevance for today. Governments and businesses are notorious for hiding behind the cloak of secrecy things that should be out in the open. Where to draw the line is very tricky, but I think you need to ask will the public benefit knowing about it and will releasing the material do more harm than good. I'll leave further comments on this issue for another time.

Now to tell a tale of two editors. During the past several years I took care of my father, who died in June, during his battle with Alzheimer's. As anyone who has ever had to deal with something like this knows, it is EXTREMELY stressful and affects every part of your life including, in my case, writing.

Among the many ways it impacted my writing was with two pieces I did for two different publications that I had written for previously, one was for a travel magazine and the other for The Costco Connection. The pieces I wrote for both publications were so lousy that each editor told me not to bother querying them again.

I waited until my father had been placed in a nursing home and I had a chance to recover before contacting them again. I explained the situation with my father and that was why I had written such a poor piece for them. I then asked for a second chance.

It took three emails, three phone calls and a registered letter before the travel publication editor bothered to respond. The person claimed to except my explaination, but was non-committal on another chance. With The Costco Connection it took two emails and a phone call before I got response. I had a lovely chat with the editor who accepted my explaination and offered me another chance to write. This showed real class.

So I queried The Costco Connection and ended up doing a short member profile, which will be appearing shortly. I also queried the editor of the travel magazine. I didn't hear anything and did a follow-up. I received a polite brush-off.

By the way may I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.