Earlier this month, FBNY ran a story on the dustup between Monica Gaudio and Cooks Source after the New England cooking title published one of Gaudio’s articles without her consent. Today it appears that Cooks Source‘s decision to run Gaudio’s story about apple pie may be one that leads to the food magazine’s demise. Cooks Source has been the target of intense scrutiny since the Gaudio incident and, according to an unsigned note on the magazine’s website, will not be able to recover from the fallout:
“The bad news is that this is probably the final straw for Cooks Source. We have never been a great money-maker even with all the good we do for businesses. Having a black mark wont help…and now, our black mark will become our shroud. Winters are bleak in Western New England, and as such they are bleak for Cooks Source as well.”
Although it was posted anonymously, the above excerpt and the rest of the lengthy note is believed to be the work of Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs. Read on for the unabridged version of the Cooks Source sob story.
Its sad really. The problem is that I have been so overworked and stretched that when this woman — Monica — contacted me, I was on deadline and traveling at the rate of 200 mile a day for that week (over 900 in total for that week), which I actually told her, along with a few other “nice” things, which she hasnt written about.
I was stupid to even answer her that night, her email to me was antagonistic and just plain rude and I was exhausted. But I got suckered in and responded. She doesnt say that she was rude, she doesnt say that I agreed (and did) to pay her. It was my plan to contact her after deadline and have a good discussion about it. The complicating issue was that one of the businesses we worked with had closed without notice, just a sign on the door — leaving several people, including a chef who had relocated to this area from Florida — out of work. I do not offer this as an excuse, but that, when she wanted money for Columbia University, it seemed ironic because there were all these people in this small town going into the holidays with no jobs, and no, well, nothing.
I should add that this email exchange took place the day before she wre her article for the world. After she (likely) received my email, she called the home office phone at 10PM, I didnt answer that late, was in bed as I was traveling again the next day (left at 7AM the next morning) to Connecticut, and didnt get back to her. This is not an uncommon practice with anyone, to not respond to a phone call for a day or two, it happens to me from other businesses, all the time. I came home that day from being in Connecticut to find hundreds of phone messages and emails telling me I sucked and was a dirtbag… and much MUCH worse.
I really wish she had given me a chance to respond to her before blasting me. She really never gave me a chance.
Since then, we have had so much hate email (over 400 pieces) , phone calls and regular mail. My advertisers too, have been so harassed that it has all muddies up the waters as to what the real situation is. I took the site downbecuase someone threatened to go to all the distribution spots and destroy the new issue, also to protect my advertisers. Facebook has not responded at all; not taken these advertisers name off this bogus site — or remove the site completely — and takes no responsibility that someone unnamed can just create a page that can suggest that people — and I am sure that in real walking-around reality you are all really nice people — that people should email total innocent strangers and harass them to death. Honestly, some of you have been pretty mean. I have been busy for the last week, apologising to these business owners and helping them to get things right again. If my apology to Monica seemed shallow it was because I was angry about the harm she has inflicted on others on behalf of her own agenda.
So let me say this now: Monica I am so sorry for any harm I caused you. I never ment to hurt anyone, and I think I did a nice job for you, but the fact remains that I took this without asking you and that was so very wrong. Please find it in you heart to forgive me. I sent the check to the University and also, because so many people really need help, serious help, I am sending one to Food bank of Western Massachusetts (sorry, I got the name wrong the first time, even tho we did write an article on them).
This is how it happened:
When putting together a magazine, a publishing firm usually has a staff of many, a stable of writers and proofreaders. Cooks Source doesnt, it is just us two…and believe me we would if we could use more help. Consequently I do much, have a few stalwart writers who love to write (for free) and a number of publishers and book agents who send me A LOT of books, recipes, press releases, etc — I recieved one even today. In the past I have also assisted budding writers with their writing skills and given them a portfolio piece they can get jobs with, from magazines and newspapers that will pay them. In short, we do a lot of good, sell a lot of books for authors, and help a lot of people.
But one night when working yet another 12 hour day late into the night, I was short one article… Instead of picking up one of the multitude of books sent to me and typing it, I got lazy and went to the www and “found” something. Bleary-eyed I didnt notice it was copy written and reordered some of it. I did keep the author’s name on it rather than outright “stealing” it, and it was my intention to contact the author, but I simply forgot, between proofreading, deliveries, exhaustion.
Cooks Source for those of you who are not familiar with it, works with small food-oriented businesses and farms to get the word out on their works/products. We are about getting readers to get up and go to some of these places, because they are so great and so much fun. We write every month on over 20 + businesses and feature a town a month and all their good food and interesting shops. We cover 16 towns and villages in Western New England, every month.
The bad news is that this is probably the final straw for Cooks Source. We have never been a great money-maker even with all the good we do for businesses. Having a black mark wont help…and now, our black mark will become our shroud. Winters are bleak in Western New England, and as such they are bleak for Cooks Source as well. This will end us. In the end if we did keep going, I would (very gladly) hire someone else to serve as editor and just continue my work with the towns. You should know that I did have an interview last week and the reporter grilled me seriously. I was able to show him all the promo books and articles we receive, all the photos we take and the “clip art” that is free for everyone. I also showed him those emails…
Thank you to all our readers, thanks to all our advertisers and writers… and to everyone who has been supportive and who has been a part of Cooks Source. To one writer in particular, Monica Gaudio, I wish you had given me a chance.