Thursday, March 22, 2012

Freelancer reaches settlement with Rogers over posting of peanut allergy story

Freelance writers can stick up for themselves, if they have the patience. According to a post on Story Board, Patricia Pearson has reached a settlement with Rogers Publishing. It took two years and with the support and help of the Canadian Media Guild and the Canadian Writers Group (which jointly publish Story Board).
Pearson wrote a controversial story called "It's Just Nuts" for the December issue of Chatelaine in 2009 that questioned whether the public was overreacting to peanut allergies. This provoked a torrent of criticism (notably from the editor of Allergic Living, Gwen Smith and also from Canadian Family editor-in-chief Jennifer Reynolds.)
Some commenters on an item we carried on Canadian Magazines suggested that the controversy and story choice was a factor in the dismissal of Chatelaine editor Maryam Sanati.
However, the dispute with parent company Rogers was over the use of the story on third party websites without permission and the failure to remove the story from Chatelaine's site once the contracted period had passed.
The process didn’t move quickly, but with the help of the CMG’s lawyer, Sean FitzPatrick of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish, Pearson reached a settlement with Rogers and she’s pleased with the outcome, as was Canadian Writers Group and Rogers. It marks an end to a long and frustrating story, but it’s one that proves writers can, and should, fight for what’s rightfully theirs.

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