A piece by freelance Sheron Boyle which was spiked by The Sun because of a dispute with a staff journalist over bylines has finally appeared, three months later.
Boyle wrote in Press Gazette in June about how a journalist at The Sun wanted a joint byline on the piece, with the staffer's name appearing first. When Boyle refused to let the staffer take credit for her work she was told that the piece was no longer required. This prompted Sun editor David Dinsmore to phone Boyle personally and promise to ban the practice of 'byline bandits' on the staff stealing credit for the work of freelances.
Now the story, about a woman who slimmed from 34 to 13 stone, has finally appeared – under the single byline of Sheron Boyle.
Boyle told Press Gazette:
"I am pleased The Sun played fair on this issue and editor David Dinsmore stayed true to his word, running my feature with my byline on it. David accepts the byline banditry practice was arcane and had no place in today's journalism. However, I urge all freelancers to always check their work for any paper will have their name on it as I still believe the practice is happening occasionally.
"I spoke out simply because I could not tolerate the unprofessional practice any longer. It is as hard as it's ever been to work as a freelance writer in the print industry – and we have to make as much money as possible from each story. Taking our names off our work and putting someone else's on made it harder to resell the work, the interviewee rightly could question what was happening and as I maintain, if the top line is false, readers are perfectly entitled to ask what else is in the publication is.
"In today's trying times for newspapers, we need to operate as ethically as possible and treat freelancers – vital cogs in the wheel – with respect and fairness. David asked me to keep pitching ideas to The Sun – and I aim to do that, as I have since I went freelance in 1996.
"I am hoping byline banditry, unlike my beloved newspaper industry, is well and truly buried!"