Is the purpose of editing to change the meaning of a piece so it no longer reflects the original intent of the author?
Leadership Journal changed the words of the man who wrote the post about the crime he committed (see post here.). He wrote “we,” as in “We were riddled with guilt and tried to end things, but the allure of sin was strong. We had given the devil far more than a foothold and had quenched the Holy Spirit’s prodding so many times, we had little willpower left.”
But now this is what it says:
“I was riddled with guilt and tried to end things, but the allure of sin was strong. I had given the devil far more than a foothold and had quenched the Holy Spirit’s prodding so many times, I had little willpower left.”
The author’s original words conveyed that the victim (a teen girl in his youth group) had equal culpability in what he calls an adulterous relationship.
But now Leadership Journal edited the words to make the writer of the post take actual and sole responsibility. This was not his original intent. His original intent in writing the piece was to equally blame the victim, as if she had struggled and consented willingly.
So, from a writer’s perspective with several books under my belt, I am really confused. There have only been a handful of times I have experienced this kind of editorial intrusion, where my original intent was marred by heavy handed editing, when the editor changed the meaning of my words. My response was to push back because it did not reflect what I meant.
I posed this on twitter:
The question for @Leadership_Jnl is this: did YOU change the words of his post? How is that truth?
Their response: “Yes, but with his permission”
So Leadership Journal changed the original meaning of the words of the convicted rapist to make it more palatable for readers? This actually makes the perpetrator look better, so of course he will agree to their changes. Editorially, though, I don’t understand how this can be honest journalism