Joi Ito on the Kevin Sites blog issue (my understanding is that Kevin Sites is run by a journo paid by a BigPub and the site has been shut down at the request of the BigPub).
In my view, the editing process serves 3 purposes:
- To improve the quality of writing in a structural and syntactical sense
- To ensure that any arguments made in the work are sound
- To determine what gets published
It is this third point that can be utilised as a form of censorship. To say, as Joi’s friend does, “If you’re going to call script approval censorship then you’ll have to call the whole editing process censorship” is misguided. Of course not all of the editorial process is censorship, but it can, and does, play a big role in censoring what is presented to the public. This cannot be ignored.
Regarding “work for hire”: completely depends on the circumstance. If the BigPub is paying for the journalist to be in Iraq, and the journalist is contracted to submit all work created during that time to the BigPub, fair argument. And in this circumstance this seems to be the case.
In different circumstances perhaps the argument can be more strongly challenged. But if you factor in the censorial role that the BigPub is going to play, there is also a very strong freedom of speech argument to be made too. But that’s a whole other issue…