Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 17: Young Jay spent his snack money on Soap Opera Weekly … Professor Cindy calls for higher soap writing standards … Liz V is saddened by the decline of soap journalism … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
This is a short note to Marlena readers in another terrible week in a year that has become Marlena’s personal “horribus annee.” My elderly mother is hospitalized again and I had a terrible toothache, necessitating getting a wisdom tooth pulled. Who could pay attention to soap operas? Yet Hinsey-gate — the firing of the editor of Soap Opera Weekly — loomed large, casting a shadow that still hasn’t gone away.
Many readers have written to me, asking for a comment on the Hinsey story. Here it is. But first some background:
After 10 years as a soap magazine editor, writer and newspaper journalist, I originated the Critical Condition column in Soap Opera Weekly. It was a pioneering critical column in the field and I wrote more than 570 columns, from the magazine’s inception in 1989 until 2001. Early that year, Soap Opera Digest took over the management of SOW and eventually named one of their own editors, Carolyn Hinsey, as our editor. Immediately, I knew that my critical voice, fiercely protected for years by SOW founding editor Mimi Torchin, was not compatible with the unhealthy political alliances the journalistically corrupt, bullying Digest Dames had made within the industry. So back in July 2001, I made my own personal comment on Hinsey and the SOD management: I quit.
Until then, Weekly had been a valuable, intelligently produced magazine and I loved my job writing a column that became very popular with readers and was well read throughout the soap world. But I didn’t realize until last week, when the epic Jossip column on Hinsey ran, that so many other displaced SOW/SOD editors and staffers had gone through the same personal pain and costly career derailment that I had. Victims by the score! The Killing Fields of soap journalism!
So Marlena would like to salute all her fallen colleagues and especially send her love to her many friends whose careers were negatively impacted because of SOD and Hinsey: the funny and wonderful writer Alan Carter, SOW founding editor Mimi (with whom I worked on magazines as early as 1978), the super savvy publicist Frank Tobin, my column’s editor Robert Schork, and the many other staffers and industry professionals who suffered and/or fell after us.
But surprise! We all survived! We are all working elsewhere, and the cause of intelligent journalism lives on. I’m very happy to have revived the Marlena De Lacroix name online two years ago and on this website 10 months ago, and I have been blessed by two things: One, I am boss of me. And two, this blog has attracted so many wonderful, yes, Thinking Fans. What really thrills me is that so many of you are old friends who read my original SOW column.
And all this pain taught me a lesson, one I frequently pass on to my college journalism students. Journalism is a competitive business. But while others may try to copy you, no one can replicate your talent or originality. Or take away your great love of what you do.