19 April 2011

VegNews magazine listens to its readers and apologizes... finally

Last week, the vegan community came to a halt when it learned that VegNews was using stock images of meat—passing the photos off as vegan items—in its magazine and on VegNews.com. Once word of the deception hit the wires, VegNews issued a statement.

In a fantastic article on the situation titled, "VegNews scandal: Mag takes heat for meat deceit," TDIV writer Elizabeth Gordon explained the statement:
In response to the public outcry over its deceptive practices, VN has posted an open letter to its readers. In the letter, VegNews states that they are "deeply saddened"—not by their own misconduct, as one might expect, but by "the dialogue that has transpired" since their fraud was exposed.

The letter's first 3 paragraphs are a strange mix of self-congratulatory and woe-is-me prose. Readers are reminded that the "labor of love" known as VegNews has "won numerous major magazine awards" (impressed yet?), and that it's accomplished this with "no funding or investors" to help cover its "exorbitant costs" (get out your hankies).

Vegans and non-vegans alike agreed that the statement was not sufficient, ridiculous in fact. (Okay there was a small segment of people who defended VegNews, but coincidentally many of the apologists happen to be contributors for the magazine.)

Monday night, VegNews released another statement to its readers… a true apology. And, they finally got it right: “We screwed up.”

Yes, VegNews, you did. You screwed up. And by swallowing your pride, cutting out the “Woe is me, we got caught” crap, and admitting error, you probably just saved your magazine.

In addition to an apology, VegNews took things a step further by stating, “We assure you that we will never again use non-vegan photographs in VegNews.”

Hallelujah! A vegan magazine with vegan photographs!

Obviously the apology and plan-of-action should have been released immediately. That being said, it’s never too late to say, “I’m sorry.” We all make mistakes and we are all guilty of doing stupid things now and then. For the most part, people are forgiving, and I think that VegNews will see that this apology is exactly what the readers needed and deserved.

Daelyn Fortney | @daelyn | email
Daelyn is the co-founder and managing director of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to her work at TDIV, Daelyn homeschools her three daughters.

Photo credit: VegNews screen capture