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#1 bartusderidder

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:48 AM

Hi all,

As getting something published is a very new thing to me, I'm not sure if what's happened is the normal course for things to happen.

Short overview of how things went.

-On my latest trip to Central Sulawesi I witnessed 2 major ecology problems that area has to cope with. Back home I sent an email asking people for advice on how to act (very naive perhaps, I know. Interesting nonetheless what answers you get depending on what someone's interest is. But that's another discussion)
-Anyhow, I got an answer back from a guy that had recently started up a magazine and he asked me to write a report on both problems, stating to do it ASAP as urgent action needed to be undertaken.
-So I wrote 2 reports (one with the kind assistance of a world specialist on one of the issues), posted my contribution and waited to get a some kind of reaction whether my text and/or pics would be accepted.
-Nothing...
-When the release date of that issue came nearer I thought I'd check once more...yes, my reports were accepted and therefore would be published. Woohoo !
-Not going to deny I felt a bit flattered (first try, and immediately got accepted in a magazine with an editorial board that embraces all the big names in the industry)
-Not going to deny either it was a VERY BIG surprise to me when I read what was supposed to be my text: what I had written as an as objective as possible "scientific" report was turned into a Hollywood drama story. I barely recognized my own text. So I felt a bit betrayed to read "report by Bart De Ridder".
-Furthermore my picture was cropped in this way that it left out my copyright. Nowhere was it mentioned it was my pic (whereas in another article it was clearly stated "photography by name (one of the members of the editorial board)").
-And to top it all, the second part of the report was summarized in 1 meaningless sentence (know that this 2nd issue was what initially caught this magazine's interest.)

To finally come to my question: To what extent is a magazine allowed to edit texts/pics...WITHOUT consulting the author in anyway, cause that's what happened in my case. I do understand a magazine wants to edit texts and pictures, but don't they have to ask the author's opinion at least? I mean, I have a scientific background and whenever we publish an article you get a reply whether your article is accepted for publication and if they want you to make any changes.

As I said in the beginning, I'm new to this aspect of UW-photography so let's hear the comments

Regards,

Bart

PS: Having seen what they turned my text into, I will definitely read any other article in a different way...

#2 yahsemtough

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:25 AM

Depends on what your contract with them says. But, from what I read above, you did not have a contact arranged. Have they paid you for the article?

That said I know they can alter your image to suit their needs. Usually it is to make it work with the layout of the magazine. Also, usually the copyright is not within the image but they do usually give a photo credit somewhere within the article or accompanying the image. I am not sure on the text but am pretty sure they can edit it also to meet their needs within boundaries.

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#3 bartusderidder

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:57 AM

Depends on what your contract with them says. But, from what I read above, you did not have a contact arranged. Have they paid you for the article?


That's correct: I didn't have a contract with them. I didn't feel like I should ask money for reporting on an issue that has to do with conservationism (That's my personal opinion). So, it's basically: no contract and they can do whatever they want....that's good to know lol.

That said I know they can alter your image to suit their needs. Usually it is to make it work with the layout of the magazine. Also, usually the copyright is not within the image but they do usually give a photo credit somewhere within the article or accompanying the image. I am not sure on the text but am pretty sure they can edit it also to meet their needs within boundaries.

Cheers

Todd


...within boundaries...seems they had never-ending boundaries :D to such an extent I don't feel like it's my text anymore.

Oh well, another lesson learned...

Edited by bartusderidder, 03 October 2007 - 05:11 AM.


#4 John Bantin

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 02:52 AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of publishing!

Even when you have developed a long relationship with a publisher you will often have to fight your corner over text content and choice of pictures.

I have just done a book for a Book-packager in the UK that worked for both a US publisher and a UK publisher. That meant I had to deal with three different editors that knew nothing about the subject but felt compelled to change the text. (Why? Because they need to justify their positions.)

Similarly, art editors like to make decisions too - like rotating horizontal divers into a more familiar (to them) upright stance!

Some years ago I wrote an investigative piece for a British national newspaper about the (bull) shark attacks in Florida. It was predictable that they would illustrate the item with a shot of a Great White toothily biting a bit of bait with its head out of the water (in South Africa).

In the end you either give up or become an irascible old hack like me!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#5 bartusderidder

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 05:20 AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of publishing!


Thank you :)


In the end you either give up or become an irascible old hack like me!


lol, I thought I was just being (over)sensitive :)

Guess I'm going to write the editorial board of that magazine (which, btw, holds quite a few of the big names in this industry) a mail with some feedback...won't probably do much, but at least I get it of my chest :D (and they even managed to misspell my name, oh boy)


Thanks for the replay :-)

Edited by bartusderidder, 03 October 2007 - 05:48 AM.


#6 james

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 05:56 AM

Now that you've named the magazine - we can commiserate w/ you. Here's what their website says about submissions and payment:

"Rates and Rights

Unless a prior agreement is reached between the editors of Ocean Geographic and an individual or a story is commissioned, we ask authors and photographers to submit an article or portfolio concept on speculation. We must be advised if a story has been previously published in any form. Rates will be advised upon acceptance of the article for publication. We may also request electronic rights."

So did they ever advise you about rates or had you agreed upon that from the beginning?

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#7 fdog

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 11:34 AM

In journalistic publication, it is accecpted that text & images may be edited at will. This point ends when the work becomes unrecognizable in style and content from that submitted, and the author becomes listed as a contributor.

They bought it, they can hack it.

This of course differs from a scientific publication, where the displacement of a comma can make a whopping difference.

Here's an example:
Jane Q. Citizen comes into newsroom with a (gasp) 60 minute quickie print of a bus crash.
They give it to me. Tisk tisk I say, look at all the dead space here on the left.
Walk over to RotaTrim, chop.
Scan.
Publish. Cut line says "Photo by Jane Q Citizen".
$35 check to follow eventually.

Sux I know, but that's how it is in the big leagues.


All the best, James

#8 John Bantin

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:01 AM

Update in the life of an irascible old hack.

They wanted a set of pictures to cobble together to fulfill a brief conceived by someone who has never put their head under the water. I searched my files for suitable shots. It's going to be compiled on Photoshop. Alas, the front-most diver did not look like what they though a diver should look like.

So I fly to the Red Sea and spend a week getting the picture of the front-most diver exactly to brief. I get back and spend Sunday converting 30 alternative shots to give them some choice. The CDs are delivered on Monday morning.

I'm now told they used the original shot I suggested (with all its faults).

Anyone want a shot of a diver looking un-naturally like a skydiver free-falling?

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#9 DeanB

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 08:09 AM

Damn not another week in the Red sea !!!!

You have a hard life John... <_< :D

Dive safe

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#10 bartusderidder

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 10:46 AM

Now that you've named the magazine - we can commiserate w/ you. Here's what their website says about submissions and payment:

"Rates and Rights

Unless a prior agreement is reached between the editors of Ocean Geographic and an individual or a story is commissioned, we ask authors and photographers to submit an article or portfolio concept on speculation. We must be advised if a story has been previously published in any form. Rates will be advised upon acceptance of the article for publication. We may also request electronic rights."

So did they ever advise you about rates or had you agreed upon that from the beginning?

James


Hi James,

Yep, I read all of that prior to submission, but as this was my first try to get something published AND because it had to do with conservationism, I didn't feel like being greedy and getting money out of it. Lol, lesson well learned next time I'll make an agreement, money involved or not.

Anyway, to answer your question: I was given access to an ftp-site, uploaded my text and report, and if I hadn't mailed several times, I wouldn't have received any feedback. None of their feedback contained any discussion of rates. And in the end my question isn't about money, whether they got it for free or not...I was wondering if they can do all these alterations without checking if I agree.
Just wondering if their way of handling things is the normal way things go in the World of Publishing. :D

#11 pakman

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 05:35 PM

Guess I'm going to write the editorial board of that magazine (which, btw, holds quite a few of the big names in this industry) a mail with some feedback...



This should be interesting as I see one wetpixelian on the editorial board... :) (not implying that he had a direct hand in chopping your submission)

Edited by pakman, 23 October 2007 - 05:36 PM.

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#12 bartusderidder

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:38 AM

This should be interesting as I see one wetpixelian on the editorial board... :P (not implying that he had a direct hand in chopping your submission)


haha lol Pakman...I know, but I doubt it very much that this Wetpixelian had anything to do with it :)
Communication was done with others, anyway.

It's been an interesting experience to see what the editing policy of a "popular" (vs scientific) magazine can be like...oh well... :D

Edited by bartusderidder, 24 October 2007 - 01:39 AM.


#13 brendiver

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:14 PM

Thanks to Bartus and Michael Aw for communicating with me on this issue.

Analysis of what I think went "wrong" on my blog site under "Dealing with magazines."

See below link
My Blog - Diving, Travel and Photojournalism at:

Brendiver's World