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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Thomas Kohnstamm Affair continues

The Lonely Planet author fraud scandal has taken more turns than we did on the switchback riddled roads of Crete on our most recent research trip there. Now referred to as the Thomas Kohnstamm Affair by the Guardian, Gadling and others, the controversy hasn't yet begun to die the death some might have predicted. Google the topic and you'll get some 255+ articles and climbing, including blog posts. And the stories are still coming. While the mainstream media initially resorted to sensationalist headlines and regurgitating content off feeds, with little in the way of analysis, recent coverage is more considered, reflective and opinionated, and often coming from first-hand experience. Others are still resorting to attention-grabbing headlines to pull in readers and in those cases the discussion that follows in the comments is tending to be more insightful (especially from travellers) and the revelations more compelling (from guidebook writers). Those worth a look include Travel publishers slam Lonely Planet (The Bookseller); Which guidebooks can you trust (Times Online); Postcards from the edge of travel writing (The Independent); Why guidebooks have to lie (Sydney Morning Herald blog); The truth about writing Lonely Planet guidebooks (The Guardian); Writer's story rattles Lonely Planet contributors; and Guidebooks: don't believe everything you read (Times Online); and Derelict vs. Duty (The Perrin Post, Concierge). Readers have been asking me to write more about the travel writing process here and although that wasn't my intention in starting this blog, that doesn't seems like such a bad idea now, if just to show that we're not all like Thomas Kohnstamm.


Sarah M. said...

Hey -- great continued coverage. As someone who is just starting to pitch her first story ideas to travel mags, it's definitely an eye-opening discussion. Linked to you all today!


Lara Dunston said...

Hi Sarah - thanks! Much appreciated. Don't hesitate ask any questions. I'll add your link to my list. Great idea establishing those ethics on your site.

TravelMuse said...

I would actually be really interested in hearing about the process of writing travel guides. I've always wondered why some are so helpful and others just miss the mark. How do you write for such a broad audience?