Why You Should Never Believe What You Read in the Papers

Why You Should Never Believe What You Read in the Papers | Not Dressed As Lamb Catherine Summers newspaper article

You know when people say you shouldn’t believe anything you read in the papers?

And we all sort of know it but still look at headlines and think, Ooh, guess what so-and-so’s said/done…? Well I’ve just had a little taster of that, but I was on the receiving end, meaning I was the one who was adversely affected by something in the papers that wasn’t accurate. To explain…

On Thursday this week I had a tweet from a lovely reader (hi Gail!) to tell me that she enjoyed my article in the XX paper.

WHAT the what?! The only article that I’d written for that paper (which shall remain nameless) was written a year ago, and they’d paid me a kill fee – this means they’d decided not to run it but they paid me anyway.

However, this article was published yesterday without my knowledge, so it was lucky that I was told by my fellow Tweeter otherwise I’d have completely missed it and been none the wiser that it was out there. Why they’d decided to run it a year after it was written is anyone’s guess, though I think it may be because they only paid me for it a couple of months ago.

Yes that’s right, about 10 months late. Some of you may have read the post I wrote back in September explaining about my financial difficulties as a pro blogger and how I was owed money from all over the place – well, this article was “the national newspaper” I mentioned in the post that I was still chasing for payment many, many months later.

So it seems only fair that the article was eventually published… that I don’t have a problem with. Unfortunately the article was so different to what I originally wrote that some of the “50 nifty tricks to instant glamour” made me cringe because I would never, ever have written them that way.

For example, I wrote:

“Don’t neglect what you wear under your clothes. A well-fitting bra can make all the difference to the look of your outfit and give you a huge confidence boost. Get professionally measured to make sure you’re wearing the right size.”

The newspaper published:

“Don’t neglect what you wear under your clothes. A well-fitting bra can make all the difference to the look of your outfit and give you a huge confidence boost. Go down a back size and up a cup size for a better fit.”

What’s all this about up and down back size and cup size?! Yes that may be the best advice for you if you’re wearing a back size that’s too big and a cup size that’s too small, but it’s not advice for everyone. It wasn’t the only “tip” I wrote that was butchered.


The after-effects

Unfortunately I had a complaint justifiably emailed to me this morning because one of the items that was suggested was no longer in stock, and she couldn’t have looked it up any quicker than the day the article came out. Luckily I emailed back after having sourced some alternatives, and I now have a very happy reader and hopefully a new fan – she replied to tell me her faith had been restored. A good result.

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Regrettably I had no control over the items they chose. In fact I had no control over the whole article once I’d agreed to the kill fee. But my name was on it, my blog URL was on it, and as far as everyone reading it was concerned, I was the one dishing out rubbish advice and suggesting out of stock items. It gives me a bad name and unless someone contacts me to complain, I have no way to defend myself – except by writing this post by way of explanation.

Therefore it’s quite true when they say “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers”. Even something that seems as legitimate and harmless as an article talking about ‘nifty’ (when would I ever use the word nifty?!) fashion tricks.

I believe that people are misquoted and rewritten all the time in journalism – so do please take it all with a pinch of salt, and always give people (even the writers) the benefit of the doubt…!



I’m Taking a Short Blogging Break (and Why All Bloggers Need to Take One Now and Then)

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Why You Should Never Believe What You Read in the Papers | Not Dressed As Lamb catherine Summers newspaper article


  1. 20 April 2018 / 1:06 pm

    I love your blogs but this is crazy. I was shocked after I have read this. I thought that the media is not doing this kind of acts. I hope you are fine. We understand if you feel a little bit annoyed or irritated. I hope they will not do this again to you in your future blogs. They must ask your permission if they want to use some of your blogs. But it is good also that they didn’t use your blog against you.

  2. Karen
    20 April 2018 / 12:16 pm


  3. 19 January 2017 / 6:34 pm

    That's shocking!! God how frustrating for you – I honestly didn't realise this kind of thing went on and it just seems so unnecessary too – why would they change your tips and print something so late that one of the products is out of stock?? What a shame but at least you were able to post something on here to explain :/ #brilliantblogposts

  4. 19 January 2017 / 8:45 am

    Oh gosh, how frustrating for you! It's interesting to see how your words were twisted, even in an innocent post like this, so I can totally imagine how "juicy" stories are conjured up from relatively normal interviews. I'm glad you finally got paid, though. #BrillBlogPosts

  5. 19 January 2017 / 4:17 am

    I can't say that I'm totally surprised by reading your story. My meaning about the journalism these days is rather low. But it is good reminder to think about everything and to try verify facts before embrace them. Hopefully, it didn't mean big harm to you.

  6. 18 January 2017 / 3:28 am

    Catherine, it is unfortunate that journalistic integrity is no longer a reality. I know there are good journalists and newspapers, etc out there, but it seems that there is a lot of liberty taken at the expense of the person submitting the article or giving the interview. Glad you finally got paid! – Amy

  7. 15 January 2017 / 5:00 pm

    So sorry your article got changed and published a year after you wrote it! I can't believe they left the items you recommended! Wouldn't that have been something to take out/change? But I'm not surprised. My husband used to write about beer for several local newspapers, and his work was frequently edited to completely change the meaning. Sometimes they changed words (and chose words that someone knowledgeable about beer would never use) and sometimes they took out large chunks so that the remainder didn't make sense/had a completely different meaning. He eventually stopped writing for them and only writes on his own site now as there was some upsetting change every single time…

  8. 15 January 2017 / 3:17 am

    What the heck! It's like you're on the loosing end. And you wonder why papers and prints are dying. I've not written for papers before. Only blog posts for companies that agree to sponsor and would like to check my work before it's posted. I always negotiated on not changing my honest opinion but if it's only positive opinions they wanted then they shall get. BUT do not change my words. Even if it's paid.

  9. 15 January 2017 / 3:02 am

    Ooooh, I can only imagine how frustrated you must feel. How hard is it for a name newspaper to do it right? They say even bad news is good news, and although that's a hard pill to swallow, maybe having your name out there in the end will pay off when your next story isn't mangled. I suspect that planting your name in the public consciousness will outweigh the damage – every writer must contend with this circus. Just trying to stay positive – heh.

  10. 14 January 2017 / 5:41 pm

    I made similar experiences with newspapers, TV and radio. I work on emission impacts on air quality. You have one guess what they wrote. They cite out of context, and all other kind of tricky things just to write their perception. If you don't agree they don't print or send what you told them.

  11. 14 January 2017 / 4:27 pm

    It's on their website too. This is just rotten and makes me really cross. And I found it on the website because I could GUESS immediately which paper it was!

  12. 14 January 2017 / 2:59 pm

    that's awesome that they finally published it, but sorry that they made some changes.

  13. 14 January 2017 / 1:11 pm

    I really dislike the tabloid press, it's the reason I went into broadcast journalism. Misquoting someone on tv can get you into serious trouble – quite right too! It'll be tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper, and anyone who clicks through will see this article and hopefully never read that newspaper again!

    Emma xxx

  14. 14 January 2017 / 12:43 pm

    Wowsers! (I know, who says that except maybe Inspector Gadget!) But Wowsers! This really is an outrageous story. And Samantha's experience, too. It is all so disappointing. I honestly have never really thought about these types of things happening. Mostly because I am a "bury my head in the sand" kind of person and I don't read much of the news. I have been criticized for not keeping myself informed, but from what you all are saying, watching/reading the news apparently doesn't keep you informed of any truths anyway. So I will go on my merry ignorant way! And I am so sorry that you have had such a horrible experience. And like Samantha said, we live, we learn. That is the best you can take from this experience.


  15. 14 January 2017 / 10:19 am

    I never trust the everything I read. I take it with a pinch of salt.
    But it is so annoying for you.
    Have a lovely and cold weekend, my dear friend

  16. 14 January 2017 / 7:58 am

    Yuck! What a strange thing to rewrite – the bra comment. How on earth is that useful?! Glad you can use your blog to set the record straight, but it really is inexcusable to completely change your tips, because by that token, they are not yours! I did a course with the BBC a few years ago and they showed us by doing writing an article at the end of the day for each of us. It was full of with quotes we'd made throughout the day, but taken out of context or that had had some artistic license liberally sprinkled over them. It showed how easily it is to be misquoted. Was quite an eye opener! But I still think completely changing the tip is ridiculous and potentially quite irresponsible. xx


  17. 13 January 2017 / 10:56 pm

    Wow…that is crazy.
    So tell me, if you ever did write for another newspaper, how could you prevent this? Can you ask them to review it first?

  18. 13 January 2017 / 10:52 pm

    Wow! What a terrible thing to have happen! I don't blame you for being a little upset. It is good that you can clear things up with your blog. Where in the world did they get that crap about fitting a bra? Crazy! Great post though! Peace! Cheryl Tucker

  19. 13 January 2017 / 10:48 pm

    This is outrageous, Catherine!! And why would they do that? I can only imagine your frustration!! Glad your blog and social media give you the ability to set the record straight!! Have a good weekend! xo Zuma

  20. 13 January 2017 / 10:36 pm

    Years ago I was interviewed in the street and was completely misquoted to sound like a man-hating bitch!
    Basically they asked me what type I was interested in and I said none because I had a boyfriend and wasn't looking for love.
    They quoted me as saying that there were no attractive men in the town I lived in and they were all ugly, stupid, unattractive and boring!
    I was horrified.
    I was in my twenties and very shocked…I assumed everyone was honest and truthful, especially people writing the news.
    This gave me a general mistrust of journalists and the news in general.
    {Fifty "nifty" tips?? Yowzers…does anyone say nifty anymore? Maybe my 92 year old Nan?}
    We get fed lies, propaganda and most folk just soak it all in.
    Your character may not have been damaged but it's not the real you and the bra tip is just ridiculous!!!
    I was horrified at that!
    Who edited your work?
    It must have been someone who has never worn a bra in their life!
    Luckily, you have the opportunity to set the record straight here….hopefully the newspaper readers will pop onto your blog and catch this post.
    I suppose that the bright side is you won't be caught out like this again.
    We live…we learn.

    • 13 January 2017 / 10:40 pm

      IKR, Samantha – NIFTY?!!!! I have no idea who edited it because it's so long after I wrote it. I just hope this post reaches anyone who thinks I'm an idiot (especially when I'm quoted as being a "fashion expert")…!

    • 19 January 2017 / 5:18 pm

      My dad was born in 1930 and he liked the phrase, "A nifty wee pint" 🙂 He also told me my mother was a "nifty wee dancer" once upon a time. Perhaps the iniquitous newspaper is outsourcing editing to bored pensioners? Seriously, newspapers are obsessed with bras and their contents and (b) anyone clicking through has found an amazing resource. Sorry you had to deal with it though, when you're used to being your own editor this sort of thing is hard, especially when editing becomes butchering.

  21. 13 January 2017 / 10:16 pm

    That must have been SO frustrating, Catherine! I guess we shouldn't believe that old aphorism that there is "no such thing as bad publicity"… especially if it calls into question your good judgement. At least with your blog you can control the message.

    • 13 January 2017 / 10:37 pm

      Well hopefully I get enough hits onto the blog that it makes up for the fact that the article was so inaccurate… let's hope so anyway, Susan!

  22. 13 January 2017 / 10:09 pm

    Layering up to stave off the cold weather here in Lancashire UK

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