How to Kill a Magazine and Piss Off EVERYONE

I had a front row seat to the whole Cooks Source saga today.  It was amazing watching the Internet get its revenge.

In case you have no idea what I am talking about, let me give you the short version.

Monica Gaudio wrote an article on her website about the history of apple pie and included a recipe.  Many months later, a friend congratulated her on being published in a real magazine.  Monica had no idea what she was talking about, until she saw her article and recipe in Cooks Source Magazine.

She wrote to the editor asking how they got her article.  The editor gave her attitude and asked her what she wanted.  Monica replied that she wanted “an apology on Facebook, a printed apology in the magazine and $130 donation (which turns out to be about $0.10 per word of the original article) to be given to the Columbia School of Journalism”.

Instead of getting what she requested, Monica received the following email from editor Judith Griggs:

Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.

But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace.

If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!

Monica posted this on her blog and it was game on.  The Internet was pissed… literally!  “Nerd revenge” is what the media called it.  The Cooks Source Facebook page became ground zero for tens of thousands of witty, one liner jabs at Griggs and the magazine.

The tiny Facebook fanpage of 187 blew up to several thousand fans within just a few hours, although these aren’t the types of fans that most businesses want – Hitting the “Like” button was the only way to have the ability to post on the page.

Griggs fought back by accusing all of her new fans of being “hackers” and threatened to have all of their Facebook accounts banished, which incited even more Griggs bashing.  By the end of the day, the posts from the angry mob were accusing Griggs and Cooks Source of some outragous things.  “Cooks Source shot JFK,” read one accusation.  “Griggs talked about Fight Club” was another (and one of my favorites).  They were accused of voting for David Hasselhoff on Dancing with the Stars, being friends of Bill Gates (they have something in common), and having a fake girlfriend in Canada.

Within hours of the backlash, Time Magazine and others began reporting about the histeria that was aimed at this small Nantucket magazine.  The madness reportedly caught the attention of the Food Network, who noticed right away that dozens of their original web content had been published in the magazine.  Uh oh!

If you are looking for that special holiday gift for a loved one, I would suggest picking up a copy of Cooks Source Magazine.  It is bound to be a collectors item in no time.  If you really love the person , do your best to get editor Judith Griggs to autograph it.

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