German Article in Migros Magazin [en]

Material from my interview with Migros Magazine was re-used for an other article in the German-language counterpart, Migros Magazin. Should I be unhappy about how it was done?

[fr] Un morceau d'interview et la photo prise pour mon interview dans Migros Magazine ont été réutilisés dans la version allemande, pour un article assez différent sur les blogs. Devrais-je m'offusquer qu'on ne m'ait pas demandé mon autorisation?

Last month, an interview of me was published in the French-speaking Migros Magazine, under the title Born to Blog. It was a pretty good article, and I was happy with the photograph.

This morning, I noticed an incoming referer from the German edition of the same magazine: Wie Blogger den Tsunami-Opfern Halfen, with my photograph. If my German isn’t too rusty, this means “How Bloggers Helped Tsunami OrphansVictims“.

Well, at first, I bypassed the title and started reading the text, assuming it must be a translation of my initial interview. Not so. The first and last paragraph have something to do with me, but the middle of this small article is about something I don’t even know about.

Exploring a little more by looking at the PDF version of the article, I understood that it was in fact part of a larger enquiry on blogs.

Right, so they re-used part of the interview I did in December, and the photograph to illustrate it. It’s nice to be in the German-language press, of course, but I can’t help thinking they should at least have asked me before re-using the interview and the photograph.

I was in for a bit more surprise when I tried to see where the article was linked from on the main page of the site. Here is what I saw. (Screenshots coming later.)

Now, I’ll agree that my photo is a good one (my thanks to the photographer for her patience, by the way), and that I have a slight tendancy to think others try to take advantage of me all the time, but it does strike me as a little strange that my photograph is used to illustrate the link to the other article in the enquiry. Try clicking around, you’ll see what I mean.

Should I be unhappy about this, or do you just give up any hope of what your words or image are used for once you start dealing with the press?

As an aside, a three-part interview of me will be aired on the RSR1 radio next week. More details about that in a later post.

Update 11.02.2005: after writing this post, I also sent an e-mail to the journalist who interviewed me. He called me straight away to apologize. Neither he nor his boss knew about the German article, so they were also a little annoyed. This was clearly an internal communication problem, and from what I understand it wasn’t the first time.

He assured me that even though the photo could in theory be re-used, it shouldn’t be taken out of its context. The present case was a bit on the limit, he admitted — the article was about blogging, but from a whole other angle. I suggested they get the web people to put in links between the two parts of the enquiry on weblogs.

Update 01.06.2005: photographer’s name removed at her request.