Many people who are happy for their stories to appear in one publication are not so happy about them appearing in another. Once they are out there, though, stories can travel. It can be very difficult to control where they end up.
Sometimes a journalist will tell you they are working for a particular publication only to have their editor tell them, when it’s finished, that the article is no longer wanted. In this situation they may end up selling to another. Sometimes a magazine or newspaper that has published your story will sell it on to another.
Agencies specialising in the women’s magazine market often approach trans and intersex people for ‘lifestyle’ stories. These can end up being sold on to newspapers with a much wider circulation. What you thought would be a small story with a niche readership might end up on your parents’ breakfast table.
When you agree to talk to the media, don’t be shy of asking questions about what will happen to your story. If you sign a contract, look carefully at the small print. Don’t let yourself be hurried. You have the same right to fair treatment as in any other business deal.
Once a story has been published, even if it only appears in a print publication, there is a strong chance it will end up on the internet. Stories can circulate on the internet for years. Even if a problem story is officially corrected and you receive an apology, old versions of it can continue to be accessed online. This makes it all the more important to be careful about what you say.
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