“While I share the Trib’s outrage at Journatic’s use of false bylines, I take their umbrage with a grain of salt,” writes a former newspaper editor who asks to remain anonymous.
“Did ‘Ann Landers’ really write all of those columns toward the end of her career?” (The late advice columnist was based at the Chicago Tribune.) “No, there was a team. And Landers was never her name, just as “Dear Abby” was never her sister’s real name.”
The newsman continues:
Some papers run columns from Billy Graham. While I suspect that Billy’s teachings have inspired the writers, he surely isn’t writing all of those columns now, is he? You can probably find a dozen examples like that, from recipe and bridge columns to advice and gardening pieces.
He says he raised the bylines issue with the features managing editor at his paper but “I was politely shooed away. At the very least, I wanted to acknowledge that Ann’s daughter was helping her at the end, as some papers did. I never understood why we could make things up in Features. Which is perhaps why I was never ME/Features.”