New York Times Posts Spoilers: Call for Letters

112

Jul 19, 2007

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

As many of you know, the respected newspaper The New York Times has posted an early review and more details of the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As many of the staff here has worked in media or journalism at some time, we’re very disappointed in these actions and make this post as a full staff. From your emails and notes, we know you are disappointed, too. If you would like to express your disappointment to the newspaper, do so at [email protected]. In fact, if you would like a letter to copy and paste, or use to work from and add your own sentiments, please feel free to use the below. We’ve just sent ours off, and hope you will do the same.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to express my disappointment that your publication printed an early review and details of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This goes against the express wishes of the author and anyone that calls themselves a true Harry Potter fan.

It is hard enough for a Harry Potter fan to avoid spoilers on the Internet and news stations now that the book appears to have leaked; now we have to avoid trusted outlets as well. You’ve not only disappointed millions of children around the world with your actions, you have disappointed the millions of adults who look to the New York Times to be a bastion of good taste and standards. When the New York Times succumbs to such tabloid tactics, who won’t?

Many ask why we care – why fans aren’t all so rabid to get the book that we’ll sop up any illegal download or purchase. There’s one simple answer: We respect the author. We thought that a newspaper like yours, where so many of your reporters become authors themselves, would understand and respect that. We’re so saddened that we were wrong. We feel let down by you and your editorial board.

Sincerely,

Your name here
Harry Potter Fan, and member of Jo’s Army





27 Responses to New York Times Posts Spoilers: Call for Letters

Avatar Image says:

Very well-written letter.

I actually sent one last night, before I read this. You can read the full thing at my blog: http://my.opera.com/lutherjw

Avatar Image says:

Just a short comment:

Maybe we shouldn’t sign our letters with the words “member of Jo’s Army”. We are not in a war, just simply stating how disappointed we are. In my opinion it just sounds childish, which doesn’t contribute to our intentions at all.

Avatar Image says:

Thank you so much for doing this Melissa. The letter is incredibly well-written and very professional. I am simply in shock that the NY Times would do something like this. I know they’ve lost credibility with me. Have you (Melissa) been able to avoid all of the spoilers? I sure hope so. Btw, I sent my letter off early this morning!

Avatar Image says:

I couldn’t believe it when i saw it…I am sooo disappointed in the NYT. I just sent my letter and asked all my friends to join in, even though not potter fans. This is just bad journalism.

Avatar Image says:

Awesome! I’m not a fan of the NY Times to begin with but I always figured deep down they were trying to do good in their own twisted way but this is just low. I hope their own kids don’t read their paper.

Ashame what some people will do with no regard to the pure of spirit.

I’ll be sending that letter from several email addresses.

Avatar Image says:

It would be nice to be able to cut and paste this. I have been unable to do so on this site. Why tell us we can when it has been disabled?

Avatar Image says:

cmon guys. just 30 hours to go. i suggest we all just hide in a hole and wait until the time comes. i am very disappointed by all this. many of us have been waiting 10 years for this moment and it is being ruined by a supposedly trusty source. So what if they bought the book at a local store? they did not have to review it now.

Avatar Image says:

It’s bad enough when some witless idiot decides to post real or imagined spoilers, but when something so respected as the NYT does it, it’s just so disappointing. Thanks for telling us about it, my letter is on its way.

Avatar Image says:

Hmm.. well, I went and read the review. I don’t believe I’ll be part of the “army” castigating the New York Times for this. I think perhaps we may be getting a little carried away with what constitutes a “spoiler”.

I learned nothing from that review that Jo has not already told us outright or alluded to heavily in interviews. I saw nothing in the article that would “spoil” her surprise ending.

I saw nothing in the article that anyone who has done even the slightest research into the possible meanings of the title has not known since a week after that title was released.

And, frankly, if someone doesn’t want to know anything about the book until they hold it in their hot little hands on the 21st, DON’T READ ARTICLES ABOUT THE BOOK.

For someone like me, who simply doesn’t want to go through the same anger and heartache I went through at the end of the last Narnia novel many years ago, I’d LOVE a true “spoiler” that would tell me if the trio lives or not. If they do not, I’ll be able to stop at book 6 and live happily ever after with the children growing and thriving in my imagination. If they do, I’ll be able to read book 7 with all the relish with which I have devoured her other books. I have seen nothing trustworthy online, in this review or any other that will let me know this one small fact.

The author of this review, I felt, teased us with tiny fragments of information yet told us nothing, much the same way that Jo herself teases us with tidbits. There are no urgent plot points revealed. I thought it was a beautiful and deftly written review that told me nothing I was unaware of already.

I know people on here that refuse to read any of the current “theories” in the TLC forums simply because they don’t want to accidentally happen upon one that may be true and not be surprised at the end of the book. Sheesh people, exercise your right to not read these articles and calm down.

If you don’t want tidbits and teasers, don’t read any of Jo’s interviews, don’t visit her website, don’t work out her puzzles. Don’t interview her at all prior to publication of a book. Don’t read any hints given out by the publishers and don’t read any articles or theories about the books online.

Avatar Image says:

whether you agree with the information printed by the NYTimess, you cant argue it was bad journalism on their part and a HUGE lack of respect to not only the fans across the world, but to J.K. Rowling herself as an author. She has remained secretive about the novel for a reason, and for a paper to print information regarding the book that has not yet been released to the public is a huge disappointed and let down… no more creditibility with me.

i think a full apology is necessary to J.K. Rowling and the fans who would never have thought the New York times could stoop to such a level.

Avatar Image says:

I just think that people are all getting bent out of shape about an article that contained NO SPOILERS! If any letter writing should be done, it should have been done to the Baltimore Sun starting yesterday. They actually included SPECIFIC details to the story. Not to mention answer the question of what happens to Harry.

Too bad this letter campaign is too little too late.

Avatar Image says:

I sent mine. I left out the Jo’s Army bit, and I added some other bits, but it’s sent. I like and agree with your point about respect for Jo, very much, and although I haven’t read the article (nor any other articles, nor anything online lately at all in an attempt to stay spoiler free), I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your efforts. I will say that I’m sad, though, that something like this is tearing fandom apart, right at this point in time. Very sad indeed.

Avatar Image says:

I just think that people are all getting bent out of shape about an article that contained NO SPOILERS! If any letter writing should be done, it should have been done to the Baltimore Sun starting yesterday. They actually included SPECIFIC details to the story. Not to mention answer the question of what happens to Harry.

Too bad this letter campaign is too little too late.

Avatar Image says:

I sent mine. I left out the Jo’s Army bit, and I added some other bits, but it’s sent. I like and agree with your point about respect for Jo, very much, and although I haven’t read the article (nor any other articles, nor anything online lately at all in an attempt to stay spoiler free), I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your efforts. I will say that I’m sad, though, that something like this is tearing fandom apart, right at this point in time. Very sad indeed.

Avatar Image says:

Why is everybody getting so fanatical about this? Why are people writing letters without even reading the review in the Times? I read it and agree with the writers above who say that they didn’t learn anything of importance. I hope that after the book comes out, all those people who made fools of themselves by writing to the Times without even reading the article will write another letter to the newpaper apologizing for their silly behaviour.

Avatar Image says:

If you want to submit a complaint, remember to add your real name, address, city & state, zip and phone number. The e-mail is sent via your own e-mail program, so they will have that information.

The NYTimes, like all newspapers, needs this information if it is going to publish your complaint in the paper—-to verify that you are real.

I hope that there are several pages in the NYTimes full of Muggles & others venting on this blatant lapse of good judgement and decency on their part. They should be thrown in a cell in Azkaban for that one—without a trial!

Avatar Image says:

Melissa, I would be glad to copy and paste but you’ll either need to enable copy and paste or make certain this is on Leaky’s text version. Thanks

Avatar Image says:

OK I just read the article(actually I had to stop!!!!).... and you guys are crazy!!!! It practically told me what the deathly hallows are and the plot of the book..!!! OMG !! I can’t believe they wrote that ….AND MOST OF ALL I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW THERE ARE FANS THAT ACTUALLY DEFEND THEM!!!

I am part of the Jo’s army!!!!

This needs to stop….. it’s been almost 8 years that I have been fighting with people about HARRY POTTER!!! People who don’t understand how important it is to me. If I want to read an article on Harry Potter why should I be scared….THE BOOK IS NOT OUT YET!!! They were supposed to keep their mouth shut!!

Avatar Image says:

Hey everyone! I, too, was shocked when I listened to my morning NYT podcast and unwillingly caught a summary of the review. I didn’t even have a warning and couldn’t hit pause to avoid the spoilers. I wish I hadn’t heard it.

That said, I don’t think the New York Times is to blame. They’re journalists and they’re doing their job. The fact that an author wishes to keep it secret or that a publisher is trying to maintain habile marketing is not their problem. It’s news, the book is available legally (some booksellers breached their contract but no one breached the law), it’s fair game.

It sucks that it’s out, but the NYT really didn’t reveal that much from what I heard. And, how many children read the NYT anyway?

I understand that people are disappointed, and I would advise that they simply avoid the internet for the next 24 hours, as I probably will. But the New York Times did not breach journalistic ethics, and I will not be sending that letter.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a journalism student, as well as a major HP fan who has been avoiding spoilers for weeks. I’ve mostly kept off the Internet this week, and instead listened to the HP audiobooks and watched all the HP movies. More on my position at jjunkie.wordpress.com.

Avatar Image says:

It’s a real shame that this happened, and they couldn’t’ve just waited out a few more days until the book was legally released. I would expect this type of thing from a bullying child, not adults working for a respectible media outlet. And it’s also a shame to see they still haven’t removed the review from their website, even after Jo expressing her disappointment.

Anyway, I have written my own letter, which I thought I’d post in case anybody wanted some more inspiration to build on for their’s.

And just in the case that you’re worried, I did NOT include any plot points or spoilers in this letter – as we know only the New York Times would stoop so low as to do such a thing!


To whom it may concern:

I must confess myself severely disappointed in the actions that you, as a source trusted for your fine morals and standards, have taken actions to spoil the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, for many devoted fans.

Being merely days before the official and legal release of the novel in question, many fans (including children, teenagers and adults) have been forced to boycott the internet and tabloids for the fear of having their favourite story ruined beforehand. With the recent leaks of the book, most of these fans had taken particular care to avoid any media outlets which would be low enough to publish such spoilers in their publications, thus turning to the formerly trustworthy New York Times for the latest news and information instead.

I hate to say that it seems, however, that the New York Times is becoming just as low as any common tabloid and has let down countless Harry Potter fans, as well as a well-respected author and publishing company in foolishly posting these spoilers.

While many Potter fanatics, including myself, had planned to set out on this last adventure without knowing where they were going, unfortunately this pleasure has now been denied to us.

I feel saddened to say that I ever thought I could trust the New York Times, and I feel immensely let down by you and your editorial board. I can only hope that in the future, if there is ever another book release of such a scale as this, people do not turn to the New York Times as a safe haven from the spoilers which are posted elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Dayne xxxxxxxxxx Harry Potter fan, Member of Jo’s Army.
Avatar Image says:

I can’t believe NYT would do that. I’ve never been so scared to go to a midnight release of Harry Potter.

Avatar Image says:

here’s the letter i sent off before work today. I personally am most upset that the nytimes is condoning contract-breaking actions with this review. I kept jo’s army. I see it didn’t see it as “childish” but as something to show my respect for jo. you know dumbledore’s army out of respect for dumbledore. jo’s army out of respect for jo.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been a devoted fan of the New York Times for throughout high school and college. Your paper has upheld a certain sense of integrity that is sometimes lacking in the rest of the media today. Your paper praises citizens who uphold moral standards. However, that is all part of the past. I am writing to express my disappointment that your publication printed an early review of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Not only does this act condone that certain New York bookstore’s contract-breaking actions, this act goes against the expressed wishes of JK Rowling and anyone that calls themselves a true Harry Potter fan. Since our modern world is driven by the media, it is hard enough for a Harry Potter fan to avoid spoilers on the Internet. Now news stations around the country have discussed spoilers, so we can’t get our news from there either. Now I’ll have to get my news from The Washington Post or The Financial Times because the New York Times has lost any respect for its reader. Not only have you disappointed millions of children around the world with your actions, you have disappointed the millions of adults who look to the New York Times to be a bastion of good taste and standards. When the New York Times succumbs to such tabloid tactics, who won’t?

But why fans aren’t all so rabid to get the book that we’ll sop up any illegal download or purchase? There’s one simple answer: We respect the author. Over the past ten years, JK Rowling has created a character and a world adore. We can wait two more days to finish Harry’s journey as she wants us to finish our own. We thought that a newspaper like yours—where so many of your reporters become authors themselves—would understand and respect that.

Sincerely, Liz Student, Harry Potter Fan, and member of Jo’s Army

Avatar Image says:

I just wrote a letter to the NY Times and compared them to Fox News. ;) Maybe that will get their attention… I refuse to read the article myself. I’m so sick of sensationalism. Have some integrity, NY Times!

Avatar Image says:

I sent the letter tonight. The fact that there are spoilers are not a surprise. What is a surprise is that the NYT has seen fit to publish them.

Avatar Image says:

I sent the letter tonight. The fact that there are spoilers is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that the NYT has seen fit to publish them.

Avatar Image says:

I sent mine. I left out the Jo’s Army bit, and I added some other bits, but it’s sent. I like and agree with your point about respect for Jo, very much, and although I haven’t read the article (nor any other articles, nor anything online lately at all in an attempt to stay spoiler free), I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your efforts. I will say that I’m sad, though, that something like this is tearing fandom apart, right at this point in time. Very sad indeed.

Avatar Image says:

I didn’t read the New York Times article, but I started to read the Baltimore Sun’s article and was completely shocked. After the third or so paragraph I had to stop reading. I was completely shocked and disappointed that they would publish such a review before anyone could enjoy it for themselves. It was very poor journalism and mean spirited.

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