What the #$*&, Woman's Day? Why the Hate?
Woman's Day PR Disaster: Facebook page flooded with complaints, nearly 1,500 comments, 9500+ FB shares. They've issued an apology and promise of future articles that show travel agents in a more positive light (which, admittedly, is a nice enough gesture) but the fact remains, the article is full of BS and poor journalism bashing an entire profession. I encourage readers to write on the Woman's Day Facebook page, send them a tweet, comment on the article asking them to correct the misleading statements or take the article down.
Oh, I'm sorry. You don't know the Woman's Day article I'm referring to? The one where the writer is going after travel agents with pitchforks and torches, telling people we're out to eat their children? Let me enlighten you to THE MOST POORLY RESEARCHED article of all time.
This article technically doesn't deserve any attention since it's full of misleading information. It's a PR disaster and Woman's Day has been slow to fix the situation.
Through all the hub-bub, I did want to point out something peculiar I noticed.
Whoops... We Forgot the Other Side of the Story
I don't know the back story on this article but something went awry—I'm not convinced this is what Woman's Day wanted. That is, they didn't want one-sided article, full of false or misleading information.
Someone dropped the ball big time when it comes to overseeing their freelance writers. And it seems their freelance writer (Anne Roderique Jones, who has since made her Twitter profile private) took a whole lotta creative liberties—even adding some touches of sensationalism—when explaining how travel agents work.
I also want to note I'm really disappointed in the travel agent quoted in the article. Our industry struggles enough with our image without having insiders feeding journalists juicy quotes. (Update: One agent source, Donna Cambridge of Chesterfield Cruise & Travel, is no longer in business and according to a Travel Pulse interview, she says she never said any of those things. Update II: And then, of course after I'm all up in arms angry, she does remember the interview. *sigh*)
Here's why I think the writer disregarded the original assignment or, that somewhere down the line, there was a lack of communication on what was wanted and want was provided. The site's source code gives a very different description of the article's content.
While you may not know coding (honestly, I don't know it that well either), you can read the highlighted info and see that the something doesn't match up. Instead of travel agent benefits, this article goes on a smear campaign against a profession mostly made of women. Good idea, Woman's Day.
Hear Us Roar
It's been awesome to see the travel community respond to this. While I didn't read all 400+ (so far) comments, the ones I did chance to read were well-written and level-headed. Or, as level-headed as you can be when a major publication has botched an article about your profession so badly. Let's keep this up. Let's keep educating the public on what we do.
Here's what agents, trade publications, and industry leaders are saying in response:
Change.org: Agents and Agent Supporters are signing a petition asking for the retraction of the article
7/24 - Travel Pulse: G Adventures' Founder Challenges Woman's Day Anti-Travel Agent Article
7/22 - Travel Weekly: Angry Agents Tell Woman's Day to Get Its Act Together and Facts Straight
7/19 - Travel Weekly: ASTA Views Woman's Day Article as Opportunity to Make Lemonade
7/19 - Travel Market Report: REBUTTAL: Agents Debunk Woman's Day Article, Point by Point
7/19 - Travel Pulse: The Woman's Day View of Travel Agents
7/18 - ACTA: ACTA Responds to Woman's Day Article
7/18.-.Travel Pulse: Questions Remain Over Source in Woman's Day Story (article updated 7/19)
7/18 -Travel Market Report: Agents Flex Their Muscles and Woman's Day Responds
7/17 - Travel Weekly: Woman's Day to Work with ASTA after Uproar Over Story
7/17 - Travel Agent Central: Travel Leaders Responds to Woman's Day Article
7/17 - Royal Caribbean: Vicki Freed, SVP of Sales and Trade Support Services, Letter to the Editor
7/16 - Travel Pulse: Travel Agents “Horrified” and “Appalled” By Woman’s Day Article Knocking Them
Woman's Day finally responded this afternoon (7/16/2013) to at least one of the comments—and only one it seems. Looks like they're at least somewhat interested in fixing the PR disaster. Curious to see how they decide to balance this out. I think a heartfelt apology and and replacing the article with a properly researched one would be most appropriate, don't you?
Update 7/16/2013 (2:54p CT): If the author's tweet is any indication, the article is not new and was published October 6th, 2012 (Twitter profile since made private by author)
Update 7/16/2013 (4:08p CT): BlogTalkRadio claims the agent cited is now out of business and the author of the article previously worked for an online travel agency.
Update 7/16/2013 (5:10p CT): Woman's Day issues an update at the bottom of the article, apologizing and promising on and offline articles on the value of travel agents later this year.
Update 7/17/2013 (11:16p CT): After the complaints continued to stream in, the statement above was posted on the Woman's Day Facebook page.
Update 7/18/2013 (1:10p CT): Travel Pulse article comes out questioning the sources used in the story. One source says she never said those things, the other cannot be found. And still, Woman's Day leaves the article up.
Update 7/19/2013 (11:26p CT): Travel Pulse updated their article about the stories sources, the agent now remembers speaking to the author of the story.
Woman's Day Facebook page, send them a tweet, comment on the article ask them to take the article down or correct the inaccuracies. Giving an apology while leaving an article up with fake sources and an anti-agent agenda is NOT acceptable.
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