Tuesday, July 6, 2010


The process to put together today's J Squared column was a little more involved than usual.

I decided to say a few words about the Portland police reopening a case last week. A licensed massage therapist gave them a story in 2006 about a sexual attack by none other than Al Gore. Her story was filed away, but it has now resurfaced. Is it a coincidence that the massage therapist came to the National Enquirer with her story around the same time?

All of it reminded me of the National Enquirer's role in revealing the truth about former Sen. John Edwards. Thanks to the Enquirer, everyone now knows how much of a sleazeball Edwards is.

The subject matter is a little touchy, especially for a newspaper like The Daily Universe that maintains a strict G rating. But I think I wrote a good column and still kept it appropriate enough for fellow adults to read.

After looking it over, the editor last night decided it needed a few changes and needed to be "toned down." My article didn't bother the editor that much, but the editor thought it would be wise to change some things before the Department of Communications representative looked at it at 9:30 p.m. last night.

One of the things the editor said was that I shouldn't mention anything about a "sex tape." Can't say "sex" in the newsroom. Which reminded me of this:

Anyway, I made some changes to be safe rather than sorry. And even after that, the department didn't approve 100%. I was surprised to see the paper this morning and find one of my favorite paragraphs reduced to one sentence.

But thanks to social media, I can share all the versions of my article with the world.

I created a visual representation to explain all three versions:

1) my original article
2) the revised, "toned down" article my editor suggested
3) the version that was revised by the department and was ultimately published.

Red = What had to be changed in the next version.
Blue = Changes from the previous version.
Purple = Both (Changes that were made but then had to be made again).
Green = What I would have guessed might be questionable, but apparently no one had any issues with.

Here it is in four separate pages. (It used to be all in one image, but then the text was too small to read, even after clicking on it and zooming in.)

(click on the pages to make the text bigger and readable)

What do you think? Is this blatant and oppressive censorship? Or did I really cross the line and deserve department revisions?

Again, I want to emphasize that my editor was not the bad guy here. Both the editor and I made changes for fear of the department's wrath. (For more information about the backstory of tension between The Daily Universe and the department, go here or here.)

Speaking of possible censorship ... anyone see a difference between these two pictures from the Stadium of Fire?

The photo as it was turned in to the copy desk, taken by the lovely Mariangela Mazzei.

And, that same picture on the front page of today's DU.

See any differences?


  1. So funny J.J. Thanks for posting the differences between all the versions. I was laughing up a storm. But such are the consequences of writing in a carnal and sensual world for a newspaper that tries to remain aloof from it all. It's a tough balance to maintain and I don't think you crossed the line anywhere. They went a bit too far it seems to me.

  2. Thanks, "Lafayette." Last night and this morning I was pretty bothered by it all, but writing this blog post really helped me vent, haha. Thanks for reading!


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