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PaulS's picture

Open letter to Jacobstow Journal

Open letter to Jacobstow Journal

I am writing to the Jacobstow Journal editorial team to complain about Mike Quance, editor of Jacobstow Journal:

As you may have become aware, unfortunately Mike Quance, Jacobstow Journal editor, and I no longer get on - having initially been on good terms we fell out some 18 months ago over an unrelated matter concerning TransitionNC. I will not dwell on the details of why this happened nor the on-going situation. As far as I am concerned, this is a private matter between Mike and myself and it is over.

Whilst I have no objection to Mike Quance not liking my opinions or me, I do object to him taking advantage of his position as Editor of the new Jacobstow Journal to conduct a personal vendetta against me and also not allowing us to advertise our produce in the publication.

Having been invited to advertise in the Journal by Sarah Smith, Assistant Editor, Celia, my wife, submitted an advert for all six issues and by the middle of June the format of the advert was agreed and space reserved. We paid the invoice in July. On the day of publication we received a letter informing us that the advert will not appear in any of the six issues and returning our cheque. We consider this to be a totally unreasonable behaviour.

Of the five members of the Journal editorial team we have never been in touch with three, are on very good terms with one and the only one that we appear to have problems with is Mike.

I should add that we place adverts and occasional articles in eight other parish magazines and have never had any problems dealing with any of them, clearly demonstrating that the problem is not with us or with our submissions, but with Mike himself. As the Journal is still seeking advertisers we are going re-submit our advert in the hope Mike’s behaviour can be moderated and wiser heads will prevail.

My next complaint is altogether more serious. Mike Quance has published an anonymous letter in the Journal, which bears all the hallmarks of being fictitious or written to order - with the aim of launching a personal attack on myself.

In his apparent 'reply' he has published personal information about myself, which I have not agreed to have published, nor has he checked his facts with me resulting in false information being published about me. Most of his comments are disparaging, willfully misleading and may add up to slander. In his ‘reply’ he is trying to set me up for criticism in the next issue by publicly volunteering me for a task of his own choosing, again without any consultation with me. I can only hope that such manipulation is sufficiently transparent to all who read it!

Further more, when I submitted a short, 8-line item for publication, Mike attempted to censor my contribution by demanding various changes to the text before inclusion. In the end he has rejected that, too. Instead, presumably to deflect any criticism, he has copied a section of this website, again without permission or even the courtesy of notifying me of his intent. As a result the item was unsuitable for print because it contained several clickable links that made little sense in a printed copy.

In view of all this, it is ironic that the last sentence of Mike's 'editorial' should read: '...this is your Journal and should be used to publicise your interests and your ideas for your Parish'. Not our adverts, not our interests and not our ideas, apparently.

Personally I feel that an editor who exercises a personal vendetta against another parishioner through his control of magazine contents is not a fit and proper person to be editing our parish magazine and should resign from his ‘position of power’, which he is exercising so irresponsibly.

But at the very least I want this vilification of me to stop, I want our advert to be published by the Journal just like any other advertisement from Jacobstow based business and to know that any other items Celia or I may submit in the future will be judged on its merits alone for inclusion. Ideally, I would also like an apology from Mike Quance.

To try and ensure proper access to the Journal by all Jacobstow parishioners, you, as the editorial team, may wish to review these incidents at your next editorial meeting. I would suggest that in view of Mike’s personal animosity towards me, another member of the team takes charge of any communication with myself or Celia and any decision regarding publication of our items.

I should be most grateful for your help in this matter. Excluding a parishioner from a parish magazine on the basis of personal antipathy clearly is not a responsible approach and needs to change.

Kind regards

Yours sincerely

Paul Sousek
Cottage Farm, Jacobstow, Cornwall, EX23 0BU
Organic carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy.
Read about Cottage Farm at www.transitionnc.org/node/45