Ultragrrrl Redux

by Jason Gross

19 March 2007


Twisting My Quotes

I was hoping to share some post-SXSW thoughts but I couldn’t help commenting on a Village Voice article where my quotes were twisted around unfairly by a writer who should have known better.
March 19, 2007

Dear Editor,

When writer Tricia Romano sent out an open appeal on a music mailing list for help with an article she was doing, I thought that I’d respond not only as a friend since she had helped me out before but also because I respected her work. It turns out that she was digging around for negative comments about Ultragrrrl without revealing the real gist of her article where she was looking to prop up her subject. There’s nothing criminal with it per se but this is still a dubious practice.

I gave her an initial response and then when she replied “Ok are you willing to say this on record?” and I said that I wasn’t.  I soon gave her a printable response that I asked that she use instead and would be of more use.  She decided to use the initial response without reviewing it with me.  Again, not illegal but again dubious.  This is actually what I said for my second response:

“The one thing she’s definitely good at is self-promotion: people in the industry know who she is but that’s because she makes such a spectacle of herself.  Not that it’s a rarity in the music biz but for a writer, it’s pretty crass unless you’re as good as say Hunter Thompson, which she isn’t.  As such, I lobbied to keep her off a music conference media panel because I didn’t think she’d have anything constructive to add and would just pat herself on the back the whole time.”

After my responses, she replied as such:

“Jason thanks although I don’t think I can use this. She’s not a writer/never claimed to be even with the two paragraph blurb in spin.”

This is to say “she’s written a column for a national magazine but you can’t call her a writer!”  Again, very dubious.

To top it off, in her e-mail, you’ll note that she didn’t think my comments were worth using. She obviously changed her mind and decided to use them in the article though I only learned of this once the article was published. In the past, even when I’ve written a letter to the Voice, I’ve been fact-checked but not at all in this case. That was unfortunate since there’s information in the initial quote she used from me which I couldn’t verify about a panel which is why I modified it out of second quote I gave to her- as far as I know, she never verified the information herself. That’s extremely dubious.

Romano has written excellent articles for the Voice about NY nightlife but in this case, she side-stepped good journalism practices in a desperate effort to get her story across. To say that I’m disappointed with her is an understatement. This kind of questionable work is worthy of our disgraced attorney general, not a long-time columnist of a noted national publication.

Jason Gross
Manhattan, New York

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