Journalist And Newspaper Gone Bad

The reporter that was bugging me for details about AMP? The one that Teddi Pig posted the contact details for? His article went up at the Aurora Sentinel newspaper. The title of his "article?"

Battle Among Local PORN Authors Heats Up on Facebook As Aurora Publisher Goes Mum.

Porn?  PORN?  What the HELL?  I don't write PORN.  I don't edit PORN.  In fact, during my tenure at AMP, I never saw a PORN book go through the pipes.  PORN and EROTICA are two entirely different genres, types of book, and markets. AMP didn't publish PORN.  AMP published science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance w/o sex, romance w/sex, erotica, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, action/adventure, paranormal romances.

And yet, this "journalist," Brandon Johanssen, didn't mention that in the title of his article.  Oh no--instead, he compounded the misery of AMP authors by calling them all PORN authors.  

PORN?

Dude--are you really SO ignorant that you don't know the difference between erotica and PORN?  Are you really throwing it out there that I, who writes fantasy, science fiction, and horror am a PORN writer?  Really?

You know, I think that's called LIBEL.

Or, at the very least, yellow journalism.

What happened to journalistic ethics?  What happened to double checking your facts?  Heck--one of the authors quoted in the story, Charles Sanders, wrote a HORROR book that didn't get anywhere near a PORN.  Charles is probably not real happy to be called a PORN author.

I know I'm sure as hell not.

This is why I didn't talk to that cretin when he kept pestering me for information about AMP.  And despite the fact that in the ARTICLE, he states that not all AMP writers wrote PORN--it doesn't really matter.  The TITLE is what will remain online. So for the eternity that is Google-fu, when my publishing credits come up online, PORN author is what people will think.  No one will remember that I write vanilla spec fic, or that I edited books from all genres and build a no-sex-allowed tradtional Regency romance line.  All they'll remember is the PORN.

With complete unconcern for the victims of the AMP debacle, this "journalist" and the Aurora Sentinel newspaper discarded all the ethics of their profession and threw all AMP writers under the bus on top of the financial and emotional hardships they are already undergoing.  And while I'm really damn pissed at Sandra Hicks right now, the fact that she's been labeled a PORN publisher in her hometown is absolute bullshit.

But the Sentinel and Johanssen don't give a rats' ass about that.  As long as they sell papers, they are quite willing to trample to work and reputations of over a hundred authors and staff into the dirt. Right now, that PORN label is hovering over every single victim of Aspen Mountain Press.  And that "reporter?"  The one that lied to AMP authors and staff about wanting to get their stories out?  

He lied.

Let's look at my correspondence with him At first, he contacted me because of my blog and mentioned that an AMP author (who most assuredly does NOT write PORN) had contacted him about AMP.  In my return email, I confirmed that I did work at AMP (and yeah, that was a big DUH on my part since I'd been raging about it on my blog. Cut me some slack. Even I can pull a DUH.) and asked what he intended to write his story about.  He indicated he wanted to do a business story, and wanted details about why AMP fell, how much I personally was owed, how many books AMP published and WHAT KIND OF BOOKS AMP PUBLISHED.

I talked about the offer with the ladies of Musa, and we arrived at a decision together that what I'd said on my blog was enough to serve as Musa's statement about our dealings with AMP, both within the company and as a separate entity.  I informed Mr. Johanssen of this in a formal, if cordial, reply:

Dear Mr. Johansson,

After discussing your request with my colleagues and considering it very carefully, I'm afraid I don't really want to comment further on the Aspen Mountain Press situation.  My blog posts are already up and impacting the situation. I don't feel that participating in such an interview is the best choice for me at this time.
Thanks--
Cordially,
Celina Summers

His response? He wanted more background information for the story. At that time, I replied that I would be happy to reply to his questions via email, but not via a phone call.  I never heard from him again.

Now I know why.

The article came out the next DAY.

He didn't have any interest in the facts of the story.  The facts are pretty boring. What he wanted was the sensationalism of screaming PORN!!!! into the quiet little community of Aurora, pointing to a member of that community as the PORN Queen who stole from her writers.  

So thanks for nothing Aurora Sentinel.  Appreciate all the "help" Mr. Johanssen. My situation is SO much better now that I've been branded for my involvement with a company that produces PORN.  

Anyone who is outraged by this article--like pretty much every writer that's been born?--can leave a comment at the Aurora Sentinel story page (linked to above) or send an email to legals@aurorasentinel.com.  As writers, we know the power of the written word. The truth pales next to it.  And this is just another example of how to exploit the writers who have already been exploited by their publisher.  

Yellow journalism should never be supported, particularly when a journalist and the organization he writes for are content to lie in order to sell more copies.  Perhaps the Aurora Sentinel and Mr. Johanssen will be surprised to realize that a simple writer of non-porn PORN has a greater understanding of journalistic ethics and scruples than they do. 

You see, when I was working toward my degree in Communications, my professors always pounded home the fact that a reporter had to be sure of the FACTS before he went live with a story.  I guess Brandon Johanssen slept through that part of the course.

But his editor?  His editor knew better.

For shame.

Comments

Lili said…
Obviously the headline is several shades of stupid and infuriating, but it's more than possible that the reporter had nothing to do with it. Pretty much the only thing I know about journalism is that the reporter who writes the article almost never writes the headline, and is unlikely even to see it before press. If that's any comfort...
Teddy Pig said…
Oh no! Sorry!

He contacted me... I had no clue what his angle was.
Celina Summers said…
Teddy Pig--

No one blames you for anything. You're doing great work for AMP and its authors and there was no way anyone could have predicted that this reporter would do such a thing. So don't worry about it--no one with AMP has any beef with you.
Teddy Pig said…
You guys made Huffpo though....


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/aspen-mountain-press-shut-down_n_1076635.html
Celina Summers said…
Yep. We did. And the titles HuffPo mentioned--Country Boys: Wild Gay Erotica, and Bare Bones--are not and never have been AMP titles, as a simple Google search can prove. The lack of fact checking done by both these "news" organizations is staggering. Country Boys was published by Cleis Press while Bare Bones is a blog serial. I worked at AMP from the first year it was open, and no books with those titles EVER were published by AMP. I just think it's funny that as a publisher of historical fiction (Note--not porn) I insist upon absolute historical accuracy and have two historians on staff to fact check everything. And yet two alleged "news" organizations can't be bothered to even Google their facts first. Kind of sad when you think about it--all those teachers and retirees and well-respected individuals that wrote for all the various genres at AMP are now relegated to 'porn authors' because some stupid reporter in Colorado got his knickers in a twist that AMP authors wouldn't participate in his witch hunt. Very very sad.
Yer right, Lili...headline creation isn't always done by the article writer. But unfortunately, the unfair (and might I say, corny) portrayal continues into the article itself:

"A handful of angry authors of erotica appear ready to drop their fictional whips and chains in favor of some proverbial torches and pitchforks.
And their ire is directed at an Aurora e-book publisher who several authors of steamy sex tales — as well as writers of some less-provocative titles — say stiffed them."
Kristyn said…
ROTFL @ Huffpo!! They printed a retraction statement on their website about the two books not published at AMP. Apparently, everyone is watching the blog now. This is the stuff books and movies are made of apparently!

On an calmer note, as an avid reader, I refuse, let me reiterate, REFUSE, to spend a dime on anything published with AMP's logo on it, no matter how much I enjoy the authors' work. I will wait until the book is published elsewhere to ensure I do not give a penny to Mrs. Hicks' home improvement phase.

I wish you all well in getting your rights and reputations back. The world seems to enjoy twisting a knife these days. Please know you have my support!!!

Popular posts from this blog

The Happy Warrior

A&E's Cursed: The Bell Witch Episode 1--Thoughts on the Premiere,Fact Checks and BS Meter From Someone Who Knows

Baylor Rape Scandal for Blogcritics--Part Four