This One’s for the Bloggers

Dear Times Union bloggers,

You probably think that you have a nice relationship with the paper — and why wouldn’t you? They give you space to publish your work and access to readers, and they pretty much ignore you and let you do your thing. If you care about having an audience, it’s not a bad gig.

But watch what you write.

This week, TU bloggers Lale Davidson and Peter Marino came under fire from Rep. Elsise Stefanik over this passage in a satirical work aimed at the local lawmaker:

“I myself am childless because I am a rising star in the Republican Party, and family planning is possible by way of the contraception paid for by my excellent taxpayer-provided healthcare plan.”

I’d link to the post, but it’s gone, because the Times Union took down their blog page, replacing it with the simple message, “This site has been archived or suspended.” In my opinion, the piece would have worked just as well without that idea included, but you know what they say about opinions.

This is not the first time the paper has deleted posts or eliminated entire blogs when controversy erupts. The worst example of this was when two bloggers bravely shared the stories of their #metoo experiences, but writers need not broach sensitive topics to be targeted. One time they went after a blogger who made a harmless joke on April Fool’s Day.

But that has nothing to do with you, does it? Those people should have read the terms of service when they started blogging for the Times Union. They broke the rules and deserved to be punished. Right?

Look, the paper can do whatever it wants, and frankly, they have enough headaches without those that come with an unruly bunch of bloggers. And let’s not get into free speech, not after you’ve completely signed over the rights to your work. But here’s the thing: it’s like the Times Union has a pocket full of change and you’re one of the pennies. To them, you’re blog isn’t worth anything and they wouldn’t even notice if it disappeared. They aren’t going to take your side in an argument.

My advice? Save copies of your work, and then go into your Times Union WordPress dashboard and delete everything you ever wrote for them. You’ll lose your audience, but keep your dignity.

4 thoughts on “This One’s for the Bloggers

  1. Yep, the TU will lure you in with “oh you’ll get millions of people reading your work” and promise that you’ll be part of the TU family. They tell you that they can provide more to you than your personal blog, which probably will only be read by your friends and family, according to them.

    This won’t be the first time that the TU drops a kabong on their independent bloggers, and it won’t be the last. Ugh. TU independent bloggers, get away while you still can.

  2. (Copying from a comment to Chuck’s report on this . . . )

    UGH that this remains an ongoing issue. Saddest for Lale is that they will likely delete the offending post, then hold everything else she’s done there hostage in perpetuity, as they did with me. Lale is a great writer, one of the few on that site that I would occasionally check in and read. As I normally do when this topic comes up, I re-post my summary of my experience here . . .

    The issue: https://jericsmith.com/2010/09/21/ignore-my-blog-please/

    The ending: https://jericsmith.com/2010/09/21/the-verdict-is-in/

    I’ve said since it all happened that I will stop posting these pieces and remove them from my website when the TU removes my captive content from its website. Yet here we are, over a decade on, and there’s no change in the status quo . . .

    I am guessing your pages are still held hostage there too. What a tenaciously rotten business model they embrace!!!

    1. Yes, they’re still there. I should have deleted or disabled the posts when I had a chance– but they probably kept regular backups, anyway, so it may have been a futile effort. If I hit Mega Millions, I plan to sue the shit out of them until they relent and delete my work.

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