Print Story Why I Gave Up Journalism
Ranting
By motty (Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 08:36:52 PM EST) ibogaine, journalism, fuckers (all tags)
In 1998 or so I pitched and sold an article to the Independent On Sunday on the subject of Ibogaine.


Ibogaine, the active ingredient in a ritual used in obscure West African tribal initiation rites, is not a recreational drug as such, as the trip tends to be long and harrowing. However, it also turns out to have remarkable properties. There is much evidence of long term heroin and cocaine addicts taking it once and - after the comedown - simply no longer being addicted. Most notably there is the case of Howard Lotsof, who after beating his own addiction with the drug, devoted the rest of his life to establishing Ibogaine as a treatment for addiction.

After my story was commissioned, but before I had written it, the editor at the IoS I was dealing with left and was replaced. The successor did not want my story and fed me some line about 'not seeing why it was of interest to their readership.' It had been commissioned, so I got paid a token fee anyway, in order to help me go away, but the fact that this obviously fucking great story was being canned was basically the straw that broke the back of my journalism career. Not long afterwards I drifted into coding for a living instead.

Imagine my surprise, tonight, when I discovered this.

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Why I Gave Up Journalism | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That's great. by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 09:21:21 PM EST
But I thought it wasn't published? How in the world did Ed Platt steal it?

I've got some old friends that I wish I could have suggested ibogaine to. Damn the Independent for suppressing your article and wasting lives!


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

Astonishing isn't it by motty (3.75 / 4) #2 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 09:42:57 PM EST
Perhaps we simply happened by chance to have the identical story idea within the space of a few months, first me, then Platt. It could happen. Alternatively, perhaps the editor simply gave my story to Platt. After all, I didn't go to school with the editor.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
And I suppose you destroyed all your prior art. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 11:39:12 AM EST
Since the story wasn't going anywhere, I mean.

[ Parent ]
No by motty (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 12:02:15 PM EST
Still have the notes and the ten year old contact details somewhere for what they are worth, which is now very little. But if I'm going to spend the bulk of my energy banging my head against brick walls I'd rather do that as a musician than a freelance journo.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
Good choice. by greyrat (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 01:32:05 PM EST
I'll drop a fiver in your music case when I make it to London.

[ Parent ]
Then don't fight it like that by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:23:53 PM EST
Write a letter, include proof, forget about it. See what response you get, take it from there.

There's a principle here. And also some money.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
No point by motty (4.00 / 2) #10 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 03:56:43 PM EST
It's quite normal for freelancers to have their better ideas mysteriously turned down and then see that exact article written by someone else a little while later in the same publication.

Sometimes the byline is that of the editor you submitted it to, sometimes someone else. Happened to me a few times, and there's nothing you can do about it. It doesn't matter even if you can somehow prove that you sent the idea in first. They can just say that, yes it's a good idea, but no, they didn't think you were the person to write it. No law has been broken, and they can even attempt to argue they've done nothing immoral if they can make a genuine case that the story was given to the best writer for the job.

This was a bit worse because I did actually get a commission initially, just before the editorship changed hands. That's why they had to pay me a fee anyway, which they did, though it wasn't much. I'm glad it took ten years before I found the IoS story that did run, because ten years ago I would not have reacted as calmly.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T

[ Parent ]
Classic career guidance moment by Merekat (4.00 / 2) #8 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 04:36:43 AM EST
Guidance counsellor says I write well and could perhaps consider a career in journalism. My father, who worked for 50 years in the newspaper backrooms, bellows 'no child of mine is going to be a fucking journalist'.

As an industry it appears it stinks at all points between high and low.


[ Parent ]
Classic indeed by motty (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 04:12:38 PM EST
Of course the mistake is right there in the first sentence. Writing well has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
Fuckin hell by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:21:42 PM EST
Bastards.

I'm probably going to do a part-time journalism course next year. I write now (film reviews, don't get paid), enjoy it, and want to take it further.

I've got a couple of mates who are journalists and have advised me to just do it for the love of it and not as a career. One writes for gambling websites (fuck that), another struggles to get freelance work. I can see their point.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 12:18:50 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth



[ Parent ]
Ibogaine cured your writing addiction? by priestess (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 09:50:50 AM EST
I think I remember reading that article. Something similar at least. Wouldn't have been in the Indi though. Maybe New Scientisit.

Pre..........
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Chat to the virtual me...

Why I Gave Up Journalism | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback