We received this from Christopher Johnson, posted directly to the wall. Since it's not a report and actually a form of feedback, we thought we'd move it here.
Dear Illustrious Shame-sters,
I am Christopher Johnson, a longtime Tokyo-based freelancer (www.globalite.posterous.com). I am writing, with great shame, to express my incredibly absolutely unbelievable disgust that more of my work has not appeared on your Wall of Shame. Despite my tireless attempts to blow the triple-headed Gidora-monster calamities wildly out of proportion on CTV, DW-TV and France 24 TV, you did not even notice it!
What’s worse, the Washington Times have continued to run my stories on their front pages, long after Japan has gone out of the news cycle – and still, no mention on the Wall of Shame. Shame on you! Shame! Shame!
But what really gets me drinking late into the morning hours, is that you chose to select an article posted under my name in Die Welt. Since I cannot write or read German, I have no idea what the editors in Berlin wrote for their audience in my name. I can only say that I never claimed, in my English-language submission, that people in Kesennuma City “have nothing to eat and drink and completely ignored by the government.”
Perhaps I did not notice the “thousands of volunteers already working at the evacuation centers” because I was busy inhaling asbestos and vomiting amid the stench of corpses in the fire-ravaged area around Minami-Kesennuma station.
As for the “sensationalistic and overblown” and “vicious writing”, I am very impressed with myself that I have such authorial abilities in the German language. Perhaps I should stop writing in English altogether.
In all seriousness now, it’s great to see that your site is taking donations for tsunami victims. I would like to pledge the damages I receive from you in the defamation suit to that worthy cause.
Please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see more of my sensationalistic, overblown and vicious writing at www.globalite.posterous.com.
Correspondent (two articles in my 25-year career) for Die Welt
I (@stagerabbit) sent Mr. Johnson an email in reply, hoping to open a dialogue with him:
It's obvious now that I was naive in thinking that by offering Mr. Johnson an olive branch I could start a dialogue with him and other journalists who felt unjustly accused on the Wall. It's rather frustrating to feel that all we've been doing is complaining rather than affecting some kind of change. I'll repeat that I find it interesting that Mr. Johnson's sarcasm and legal threats are reserved for us here and not the people who put words in his mouth. Perhaps he thinks that the reader who submitted the story should have used psychic powers to determine that his words had been changed by editors.
Just saw your post on the wall, and I'll do my best to respond to it.
Firstly, articles are submitted on a one-by-one basis by members of the public (I have personally only submitted about a dozen). Even on the edited wall, which we're working on now, we consider the articles on their own, not in context of a writer's other work. I think there are a few journalists who appear both on the wall of shame and the wall of good journalism.
I think a lot of us (particularly the core crew working on the edited page) are very aware that editors can have a big impact on a piece that is submitted, particularly in this case, where, as you point out, the final article is printed in a language that you neither read or write. This poses a difficulty for us, since there's no way for us to know if a writer's piece was changed, and there has been some discussion on how to deal with it.
At the end of the day, though, it is your name on those articles, and I find it interesting that you direct your anger at the wall of shame rather than the editors at Die Welt who you claim rewrote your article to the point that it ended up on the wall. If you're content with their behaviour, I fail to see how you can then claim that we have done you an injustice.
However, if you would like me to add a note on the Die Welt entries on the edited page to the effect that you claim the Die Welt editors changed your text, I can do that. If you have a link to the original English text so that readers can see for themselves what was changed, that would be even better, and I would be happy to post that, remove your name from the article, pin the authorship to the editorial staff at Die Welt instead. We don't generally get feedback from those mentioned on the wall, and I would be thrilled to be able to give wall readers a glimpse into the world of the newsroom and the influence of the editor on a final piece.
I'm really glad you responded, and hope this will be the start of a dialogue between us that will be educational and constructive for wall contributors and readers alike. Please let me know how you would like to proceed.