"What? They took his name off his articles?"
As a big fan of Lost, I have visited several Lost-related websites, blogs and forums for years. One of those was The Tail Section, which was once the best place for breaking Lost news and cast interviews. It was run by a writer who calls himself DocArzt (named for the mouthy teacher who exploded onto screens at the end of Season 1).
Doc, whose real name is Jon Lachonis, is quite a writer, and applies the rules of good journalism to his work. He’s no geek blogger; he’s an ethical and professional web journalist whose work I trust. His interviews with stars (Michael Emerson, for example) and producers (Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof) were solid and informative.
He founded The Tail Section, but later sold it to BuddyTV.com. After staying on for a time as a writer, he left The Tail Section last year, and now runs his own page, DocArzt’s Lost Blog. It would appear there may be some bad blood between the sites, as Doc recently noticed that his extensive archive of work at The Tail Section has now been attributed to other writers (with stupid made-up names like David Hume, etc.)
Strangely, the change was made to the articles themselves, but not to the teasers on the main page, which still say things like “Doc encounters William Mapother and gets the lowdown on the Ethan Vs. Locke cut scene.” Sloppy. If you’re going to screw someone over, don’t do a half-assed job of it, right?
Doc has blogged about this. First, he let his readers know what The Tail Section had done. Now he has a new post up, saying he was told by The Tail Section that it was a simple mistake, that new names were assigned to his work — only his work — accidentally. But those names are still there, days later. The whole thing smells bad. Now he’s looking into legal action. As well he should.
A writer’s byline is a thing of value, whether it’s a real name or a Web nickname. And it carries a lot of weight. When reporters want their readers to know they disagree with a story they’ve been told to cover, they remove their byline from it. That sends a message.
It looks like The Tail Section is sending a message, not just to Doc but to his readers. For whatever reason, someone at The Tail Section decided to retroactively wipe Doc’s contributions off the site. Backfire! If anything, it’s causing the opposite reaction. Doc is a popular guy, and The Tail Section hasn’t been the same since he left, so this was really just the thing many fans needed to dump BuddyTV once and for all.
I find the whole mess an insult to Doc, an insult to Lost fans and an insult to me, as a journalist. So I won’t be going back to The Tail Section. And neither should you.