Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Idiot That is Friess

I spend a lot of time on this blog criticizing other journalists for work that is problematic in various ways. I also praise excellent work, but who remembers anything but the slings and arrows? I believe it to be healthy to keep journalists' feet to the fire and I view myself, given my own experience and expertise, to be qualified to offer such commentaries.

I never claimed to be perfect myself, and today I'm going to prove that I know that.

I will not have a profile of Steve Wynn running in USA Today on Monday. It kills me, I feel horribly and I hope I don't ever forget how miserable I feel right now. Those wishing to indulge in shaudenfraude are welcome to do so.

A couple of hours ago, USA Today had to pull my story. I had rewritten a version of their piece for the Agence France-Presse wire, a French news service. There was a miscommunication and the AFP wasn't supposed to run my piece until midweek or later. But the piece instead went out on Saturday, some international news websites posted it on their sites and USA Today decided they couldn't run a similar story from the same writer.

It wasn't supposed to work out this way. I should have known better, that something like this could possibly happen. Freelancers are notoriously promiscuous, but this arrangement was subject to too many potential problems -- all of which actually came to pass, natch -- and I blame only myself. I was neither dishonest nor unethical, but in the end I might have considered avoiding even the potential for this sort of trouble.

I'm terribly sorry and saddened. The AFP piece is here and it's good, although not nearly as good or as long as what USA Today was planning to run. Oddly, it will probably be better read, seeing how AFP wire is avidly employed in most of Latin America, Europe and Asia.

But mostly, I am punishing myself the only way I know how, by publicly announcing my stupidity and carelessness. And then I'm getting back to work.