This is what happened last week in regard to my article submitted to KC Star. I sent my article to the editor of As I See It section on the morning of 2/23, then again the next morning trying to get an update. I needed to get back to a group of Chinese friends. On 2/25, when I still have not heard from that editor, I wrote to another one on 2/25.
I said, “I don’t really want to bother you. But I do want to know whether or not S.P. is in the office this week. I have not heard from him, even though I have tried to reach him twice this week. If he is not in the office, what would you recommend me to do regarding the article that I submitted this Tuesday? Appreciate your help.”
That editor was very prompt in getting back to me. He wrote, “His desk number is 816-234-4762. If he doesn’t want to run it, we’ll have to wait until your next event for coverage. I know you are keenly interested in this issue, but because it’s mainly a New York story, we would judge that it doesn’t matter so much to readers around the KC area. There are many such community actions we don’t cover for just that very reason. Regards”
So he has been in the office all these days and still pretends like he has not read my email. When you are ignored and left no other options, how would you feel? I need to let him know how I feel at the moment.
“It is very kind of you to write back.
I was fully aware of the fact that my article would not go down well with some people…
Back to my communication with your As I See It editor, you know, it is one thing that he doesn’t want to use my article for whatever reason which I don’t take personally; it is entirely a different matter that there is a lack of professionalism and the basic courtesy to even do one acknowledgement. Your editor has employed the most effective tool against someone he doesn’t like, that is, by totally ignoring that someone as if that one is beneath his time and attention, that my voice has been ignored for whatever excuses. To say I don’t feel hurt is a lie.
But realistically speaking, what option do I have? None. I already know he has decided to ignore me for some unknown reason. Calling him to confirm what I’ve already known? No. What purpose does it serve to dig him out and confront him by calling him? None. I am speechless in face of such a lack of professionalism. It is like a child play, hiding behind his computer as if he had not received my email. I once worked for China Daily, an English language newspaper in China. To put things in perspective, in the long run, this is one unique experience of mine, hopeful once in lifetime.
Once again, thank you for getting back to me. Appreciate this greatly especially in this context.
I really don’t mince my words here, because I am sure they don’t care. So, go ahead ignoring me. I don’t care either.
On 2/26, the editor for As I See It wrote to me, finally. Too late, I am already upset.
“Keith forwarded your notes to me, and I obviously need to explain that I get dozens of submission every week and have only so much space for them. You should not take my miscommunication as a personal affront. The fact is, I only have so much space and time to consider these. I generally only respond to the people whose submissions I’m considering. I have not even read yours yet, and probably won’t get to it until next week
We only run one or two As I See It columns a week. The pipeline is always full. And I will suggest to you what I tell others: You would more likely be published on a timely basis if you resubmit your piece as a letter to the editor, at a maximum of 200 words.
Thanks for understanding,”
I wrote to him, with due respect in due time. I didn’t tell him that I thought he deliberately ignored me because he is prejudiced against Asian Americans, which I am not sure of and I will never know. And I also didn’t tell him that he only reads email from Keith and gets back to me only because of Keith email. Is Keith your boss or what?
“Thank you for your explanation.
I don’t want to sound like whining for attention. However, I do believe one short acknowledgement to the sender as a due courtesy is better than a total silence. Silence can be interpreted in many different ways. I thought you tried to ignore me which left me no other options. I hope you could understand that being ignored together with having no option does not give people a good feeling.
I am not going to do a letter to the editor, for two reasons. 1) It is a time-sensitive event. 2) A letter to the editor does not stand as high notability as other options. To be honest, I don’t want to sound like an average reader because I am not. Being a Chinese and writing about Chinese Americans objectively can be a challenge. I will continue writing on Chinese American communities in the future and I do want our voices to be heard. I hope you can appreciate my being honest.
Thank you for your response.”
He still tried to explain,
“I certainly understand your position, and I would welcome a piece from you about Chinese American issues, which, I agree, are vastly under-represented in the media. But my time for editing that column is very limited and I can’t possibly respond to everyone who offers an unsolicited submission. My time frame for answering people who have offered something I can use is usually within a few weeks, which is not unreasonable in the publishing world. And though you’re right that an OpEd column is a little more high profile than a letter, those column spots are very limited and the letters column is generally very popular.
As I said, I’ll take a look at your piece next week.”
I gave him the last word, “Again, thank you for the explanation. I should have known. Have a nice day.”
I am not sure if he realized or not that his one short reply to my initial email could have avoided it all. Some people never learn anything. I don’t know if that editor is one of that some people. It is such an agonizing experience. For now, I want to put it all behind me.