It appears that Judith Griggs, the editor of Cooks Source magazine doesn't quite understand when to stop digging. As you probably already know, Griggs was the editor who simply copied a bunch of online stories into her magazine, and when confronted about it, not only declared all of the web as the public domain but told the complaining woman, Monica Gaudio, that she should have paid Griggs
for all the hard editing work she had done. Over the weekend, we saw that Griggs had given an interview where she said she was likely to shut down the magazine, but still seemed to be playing the victim
She's now posted a "final goodbye" message on the Cooks Source website, which is incredibly passive aggressive against Monica. It goes back and forth between apologizing to Monica and blaming her
for Cooks Source shutting down. It suggests that Griggs still has not come to terms with what happened here. Not that I'm one to complain, as I make this mistake frequently, but the entire letter starts off with a grammatical error, using "its" instead of "it's." I know that happens, but for someone who claimed she was such a good editor, you would think she'd be a bit careful about that stuff. Anyway, here are some snippets from the letter:
Its sad really. The problem is that I have been so overworked and stretched that when this woman -- Monica -- contacted me, I was on deadline and traveling at the rate of 200 mile a day for that week (over 900 in total for that week), which I actually told her, along with a few other "nice" things, which she hasnt written about.
Note the use of the rather pejorative phrase "this woman." And, again, note that rather than kick off with an apology, the letter kicks off with Griggs playing victim and giving excuses, while also complaining that Monica somehow hid part of the story. It doesn't matter what nice things Griggs told her. The issue was her actual response to the situation.
I was stupid to even answer her that night, her email to me was antagonistic and just plain rude and I was exhausted. But I got suckered in and responded. She doesnt say that she was rude, she doesnt say that I agreed (and did) to pay her. It was my plan to contact her after deadline and have a good discussion about it.
Still no apology. Still blaming Monica.
The complicating issue was that one of the businesses we worked with had closed without notice, just a sign on the door -- leaving several people, including a chef who had relocated to this area from Florida -- out of work. I do not offer this as an excuse, but that, when she wanted money for Columbia University, it seemed ironic because there were all these people in this small town going into the holidays with no jobs, and no, well, nothing.
If you're not offering it as an excuse, then why are you offering it as an excuse? Also, I don't think that's what irony means. There's then another paragraph where she complains that Monica called her late at night while she was in bed, and she didn't have a chance to call back because she had to go off the next morning to deliver the magazines. That may be true, but the next paragraph is the real kicker:
I really wish she had given me a chance to respond to her before blasting me. She really never gave me a chance.
I'm sorry, but that seems sort of rich, doesn't it? Considering it was Judith Griggs who never gave Monica Gaudio "the chance" concerning asking permission to republish her work, and when confronted on it, never gave her the "chance" to get paid or even get an apology. And accurately describing what happened in their exchange is not "blasting" Griggs. It's telling the world what happened. Griggs goes on to play the victim some more (so many angry emails! so many upset advertisers!) before again lashing into Monica:
If my apology to Monica seemed shallow it was because I was angry about the harm she has inflicted on others on behalf of her own agenda.
Her own agenda
? And what might that have been? To stop getting Griggs to position her magazine as if she had the approval of writers whose work she just copied? It certainly wasn't to get money, since all she wanted was a donation to a journalism school.
Anyway, finally, finally, finally, six paragraphs down -- with much of those paragraphs spent bashing Monica -- do we get an "apology":
So let me say this now: Monica I am so sorry for any harm I caused you. I never ment to hurt anyone, and I think I did a nice job for you, but the fact remains that I took this without asking you and that was so very wrong. Please find it in you heart to forgive me. I sent the check to the University and also, because so many people really need help, serious help, I am sending one to Food bank of Western Massachusetts (sorry, I got the name wrong the first time, even tho we did write an article on them).
Even in the apology she has to suggest Monica was wrong, because "I did a nice job for you." Then Griggs goes right back to excuses, explaining how she regularly has authors who want
to be included for free, and how she helps them out of the kindness of her heart. She then explains how "this" happened:
But one night when working yet another 12 hour day late into the night, I was short one article... Instead of picking up one of the multitude of books sent to me and typing it, I got lazy and went to the www and "found" something. Bleary-eyed I didnt notice it was copy written and reordered some of it. I did keep the author's name on it rather than outright "stealing" it, and it was my intention to contact the author, but I simply forgot, between proofreading, deliveries, exhaustion.
You would think that someone who has already been told she doesn't understand the basics of copyright law on the web would have taken some time in the interim to learn the basics. You don't "notice" if something has a copyright on it. While that actually would be a better system, by now you should know that content, once published, automatically gets a copyright under US law.
She goes on to explain how this is almost certainly the end for Cooks Source, but that if she did go on, she'd hire a real editor. Then she concludes with one more attack on Monica:
Thank you to all our readers, thanks to all our advertisers and writers... and to everyone who has been supportive and who has been a part of Cooks Source. To one writer in particular, Monica Gaudio, I wish you had given me a chance.
Again with the "giving a chance" bit. It's kind of difficult to take Judith seriously when she didn't give Monica much of a chance.
Monica, for her part, has done one final response
, noting that she contacted Griggs five times before she posted her story -- which she considers a reasonable "chance." She also notes the snarky language that Griggs used in response to her requests.