Seeking Approval


When I worked on glossy magazines in the early 2000s, I used to do a lot of celebrity profiles. I specialised in blondes – Britney, Christina, Paris (don’t ask) and also Kates - Hudson, Winslet, never Moss, sadly.

I steered my way out of that line of work because, frankly, I found it too stressful and pretty depressing.

In the years afterwards I heard that a lot of agents had started asking for copy approval as a condition of an interview with a high profile person.

I’m not sure if that’s true, I know it happens in some of the American press and I’m sure some publications here possibly agree to it. But I’ve never worked for a title that agrees to that request – if that’s the condition then the editor turns down the opportunity, no matter how big a star.

So it’s been interesting recently to have some interviewees request that they “fact-check” my piece before it goes in the magazine. “Not to change your copy, of course, just so that we know it’s right,” someone said in a gently pressing email. “Just so we know you have the correct details,” said another. “Only the quotes, not the words…” wrote someone else.

Guys? However you frame it, I know you’re asking for copy approval!

And my response is and will remain: NO.

If you’re clients ask you to do this on their behalf, my advice is to – what do we call it these days? - oh, yes, manage their expectations. Firmly.