Friday, October 12, 2007

Shame on Jennifer Saranow and the WSJ

Back on 9/21, in a comment that she has since deleted, Jennifer Saranow from the Wall Street Journal left a message similar to this one as a comment on my blog:
My name is Jennifer Saranow and I'm a reporter with The Wall Street Journal in New York. I came across your blog and some of the posts fit into a story I'm working on. I would love to set up a time this week to interview you for the story. Look forward to hearing from you and really appreciate the help.
That was copied from someone else's houseblog, by the way - in the comment she left for me, she chose to omit her name and email, and only described her work as being for a major publication.

I'm writing this post for one single reason: So that if someone else is contacted by her and Googles her name or contact information (as I did, before contacting her), they can potentially find out about how she really works. Her name, her affiliation with the WSJ, her email and her phone number are all publicly available, so I'm not posting anything that's not already easy to find. I just want to make sure that it's easy to find in a place that directly addresses her tactics.

She told me, and the many other housebloggers that she contacted, that she was writing an article on people who throw "parties" to get friends to come over and help with work that needs to be done on their homes. I never did this (and had only mentioned the possibility of it in an earlier post) so I didn't have much to contribute, but I thought it would be an interesting article. I often talk with long-distance friends who are very much into home renovation about how nice it would be to live closer and be able to share work and trade off our various skills, so I enjoyed that they were writing on how people come together to help each other.

I was totally shocked to learn today about the real purpose of her interview: Her article, "The Three-Martini Renovation," was instead about folks who had house-fixup parties, served alcohol, and then had all kinds of problems as a result.

But the big problem isn't the topic of her article, though in my mind it belongs on some cheesy TV reality show, not in the WSJ. The big problem is that not only did she deceive the people she talked to by not telling them the actual focus of her article, she purposefully distorted many of the facts and pictures given to her to make them fit into this article. A fellow houseblogger, "1902 Victorian," has far more of those details to share; be sure to read the comments after that blog entry from even more folks that she talked to.

Shame on Jennifer Saranow for such unethical tactics. And shame on the Wall Street Journal for allowing them.

1 comment:

Laura + Matt said...

We did a phone interview with her as well, although we did not appear in the erticle. I was horrified by the interview. She kept asking about “funny” stories involving accidents. My only reponse was that there was no such thing as a “funny” accident when you are using a power tool.