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Editor Eats Article

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Editor Eats Article

I returned to the USA and had my first real chance to browse through some of the articles that I had written in a few penny and nickel print magazines. I had the notion that I may be able to land a job here in New York City off of them, and sought to put them together into some odd sort of portfolio.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Brooklyn, New York City – October 9, 2008
Travelogue Travel Photos
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So I ripped my articles out of their respective magazines and stuffed them into a postage envelope. I carried these articles around like this for a few days without really finding the urge to read them. I had written them, worked through the editing process, and took it for granted that they would be published as they were when I received the final OK from the editor.

I assumed far too much.

I sat in the room of a friend reading my articles aloud in a silly attempt at showing off. I read through one, then another, and when I got to the third I realized something:

I was reading words that were not my own.

What the hell?

My name, Wade P. Shepard, was at the title header, I could vaguely remember writing an article of a similar topic, and being paid a big $50 for my effort, but my words, tone, and voice were sorrowfully mangled beyond my recognition. Yes, they were mangled, garbled, and eaten horridly. I looked down upon the page and could only see the discordant and fully severed arms and legs of my article stuffed haphazardly into a five and dime casket.

My article looked like crib death.

The editor had obviously broken into the cookie jar and went crummy-faced-wild on a middle of the night snacking spree, as he gobbled down my article and spat it out onto the printed page. My eloquent first person narrative about war and revolution was soon chewed down to a gimpy pile of discordant third person nibblets and left to fester like rat-crumbs.

I stopped reading this article promptly and returned it to the postage envelope without much mention. I was still trying to impress my friend, and wished to avoid any wanton embarrassment. I was embarrassed.

The next day I stormed into the Global College office and laid bare my tale of woe to my academic adviser. I held in one hand a printed out copy the way my poor article should have appeared in the magazine and a Xerox of the mutilated corpse that was published. I wanted to know why, I wanted to know reasons, I wanted to see if she had any idea why another human being would chew up and spit out the heartfelt work of another so ruthlessly.

My adviser looked at me with dispassion.

“That,” she said slowly, “is journalism.”

Links to previous travelogue entries:

  • Urban Hermit
  • Ground Zero Photos New York City
  • Vagabond Not a Drunk

Editor Eats Article
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Filed under: New York City, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s travels:

Wade Shepard is currently in: Cincinnati, Ohio, USAMap

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