So, the paper took my article. The editor, a very nice bloke, has kindly written back to me to tell me so, and is letting me see the process of my article as it goes from what I submitted to what gets published.
And now I’m in the middle of a steep learning curve called ‘the hard truth about newspaper publishing’.
Lesson # 1: Even if you submit fully within the word count, your piece will still be made shorter. Much shorter.
Lesson #2: The Sub-Editor is ruthless. After minor sub-editing, my piece has had its modus operandus removed, and even in a highly alternative newspaper, my voice has been white-washed with newspeak. I worry for those who are majorly subbed.
Lesson # 3: They know more about writing newspapers than you do. On the up side, it does read more succinctly, even though my heart has been effectively erased from the piece. Because newspapers are not the places for hearts, they are the places for ideas (if it isn’t to be news), and ideas must be presented without bias. I have just realised now that my writing is full of bias. (Although I do wonder then how someone like Andrew Bolt gets published. Obviously there is a tipping point; when bias becomes bigotry, it is ok to publish. So maybe I should be relieved that my little local paper is actually operating with journalistic integrity.)
Lesson # 4: There is no room for your sensitive writerly ego in a newspaper, or in a newspaper editing room. There is the story, the news, and the style of the paper. (Presently scraping my little ego off the floor…)
I guess the only solution is to start a newspaper of your own. You know, like they did in the 1800’s when all you needed was a rich uncle and a friend with a printing press… Or else you could just suck it up, stick your chin up high and skite about being published in a ruly truly newspaper.