Catness Mews — November 2021
Issue One — Greetings Catness People
Better late than never, I just found out about Newsletters, thanks to friend and Catness writer, Dennett.
I had been wondering how to tell all Catness writers and members about, well, stuff.
So, first up is the idea (suggested to me by friend and Catness writer Alan Asnen) of having a “photo of the month” feature. One special kitty photo would be selected by we the editors as the photo of the month. (Obviously our own cat photos would not be in the running!)
We could select photos from current submissions, or we could put out a “call for entries”. (Naturally, only photos taken by the cat owner would be in the running. None of those Pixabay or Unsplash ones would qualify — no matter how cute they are).
Feedback from Writers
We received negative comments from one of our Catness writers, regarding a piece by one of our other Catness writers. The complaining writer wanted me to pull the piece because he felt that article in question was spreading false information.
In the story, the author explains how feeding her cat wet food caused health problems for her cat. I re-read the piece but felt that she was expressing her opinion about what happened to her cat, rather than giving advice as a fact.
I did not remove the piece. Unfortunately the complainant is disappointed with my decision, saying that this type of article lowers the credibility of the publication. He is currently boycotting Catness — pity, because we really love his cat pics and tales.
Heavy Handed Editing or Hands Off Style?
All said and done, that complaint did raise the ugly spectre of either playing the heavy-handed editor or of being the hands off-type of editor.
We may not agree with opinions rendered by writers, but do not feel that is reason enough to reject their work. We may not like their writing style, but again, do not feel that is reason enough to reject their work.
It Ain’t Necessarily True…
That brings us to the tricky issue of misinformation, or unsubstantiated statements about something that could lead to harm their pets.
If writers want to make statements about pet health issues and how they should be handled, they are going to have to provide solid references to back up their statements.
Providing solid references will make their piece more credible, and will improve their stature as a writer. It will also mean that their article is more likely to be accepted by the Catness editors.
Rejects and Vetos
We will veto explicit images, or any story depicting animal cruelty. We also veto commercial links.
We will not publish any images that do not have proper accreditation with a link back to the image owner. We will not knowingly publish blatantly stolen text and images.
Spelling, Grammar, Etc.
We have no interest in going through articles with a fine tooth comb seeking spelling, grammar and formatting errors. We feel that the actual story is more important than grammar, etc. A few of our writers do not have English as a first language. Sometimes the way the story is told with English bloopers and all, is charming.
Now, if the story is basically unreadable due to lack of punctuation, sentence structure, totally wrong words, then I would send a note to the author and ask them to resubmit a better edit, or if we REALLY like the story, we might go the route of editing it ourselves.
Our personal preference is that people submit stories about their own experiences with pets rather than general helpful hints, list type articles.