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No, You May Not See The Draft

I often received requests to see drafts of my news stories before publishing since my early days in travel trade journalism back in 1997. The requests, often from the owners or top management executives of travel and hospitality organisations, normally went like this:

Me: “I believe I have everything I want for the story. Would you like to add anymore comments?”

Contact: “No more comments. Please may I see the draft before the story goes to print?”

Me: “No, please.”

Contact: “Why not? I can help improve your story in case the draft is inaccurate.”

Me: “Thank you. But no, thank you.”

Contact: “I can help to improve your written English too. I can help you make your story read better.”

Me: “You are very kind. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my English. If there is, it’s the job of the editor or the sub-editor to make my story read better.

"I am a responsible journalist, and sharing my draft before publishing to a source is not one of my quality.”

Contact: “I’d really want to see the draft. What if you misunderstood my comments and information?”

Me: “I see. Let me read my notes to you, and please feel free to let me know if I’ve misunderstood anything.”

I read my notes out loud and looked at my contacts occasionally to get his/her nod of approval.

Me: “Well, I believe that my note is correct then. Thank you for your time. Have a good day.”

Contact: “Thank you. I look forward to reading the story.”

…after the story was published, there was no comment from my contacts. They still talked to me. Well, some continued to ask to see the draft despite knowing so well that it was not possible. I continued to say no. I told my editor about it, and she was pleased with my persistence.


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