VegNews issued a statement regarding VegNewsGate … what do you think?
This is how I feel about it 😐

April 14, 2011
Dear VegNews Readers:
The entire VegNews family is deeply saddened with the dialogue that has transpired over the last 12 hours. As an ethical vegan magazine, owned-and-operated by vegans since its inception, VegNews is a labor of love, totally motivated by our dedication to ending animal suffering. Please understand the following:

—VegNews is a privately owned, independent publication with no funding or investors. Publishing a magazine is extremely costly—with exorbitant costs for printing, postage, paper, and production. In fact, the majority of independent magazines fold within three years. Eleven years ago, we recognized the power of the media in spreading a compassionate message that vitally needed to be heard, and committed to producing a vegan magazine that could compete with mainstream publications.

—Eleven years later, we are proud to say that VegNews has won numerous major magazine awards, sits on the newsstand next to titles such as O, The Oprah Magazine and Martha Stewart Living, and is fulfilling its mission of packaging veganism in an appealing and accessible way so that we can reach as many people as possible. Through our family of properties, we now reach more than 1 million readers each month.

—Yes, from time to time, after exhausting all options, we have resorted to using stock photography that may or may not be vegan. In an ideal world we would use custom-shot photography for every spread, but it is simply not financially feasible for VegNews at this time. In those rare times that we use an image that isn’t vegan, our entire (vegan) staff weighs in on whether or not it’s appropriate. It is industry standard to use stock photography in magazines—and, sadly, there are very few specifically vegan images offered by stock companies. In addition, it’s exceedingly challenging to find non-stock imagery that meets the standard necessary for publication. We would love nothing more than to use only vegan photography shot by vegan photographers, and we hope to be there soon.

At VegNews, we are working hard to change the world for the better, and do whatever we can within our means to make that happen. We deeply appreciate your years of readership and support, and look forward to working together to create a more compassionate future.

With gratitude,
The VegNews Team

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11 Responses to VegNewsGate

  1. Lesley says:

    It’s a cop out! Plain and simple – I think the readers would prefer “less than perfect” images of recipes versus the current images used. What else is VegNews compromising on?

    When products are labelled vegan, or a vegan magazine is published, we trust that the manufacturers are true to their word – if a product labelled vegan turned out to have animal ingredients, it would be no different. I’m sad to say I’ve lost respect for the magazine, as that trust has been compromised.

  2. Chris says:

    Bullshit. And nowhere near enough. And so wrong on so many levels. AND they are still not being truthful or apologetic or promising to stop it now. They’ve shot themselves in the foot and the face, and consequently, the rest of us as well. We are all going to have to deal with this as the scandal grows. If we’re contributors, we’ll have to answers questions about VN at our next speaking engagement. If we’re advertisers, we’ll have to deal with our customers’ requests to pull our ads as well as our own ethical questions about having them there in the first place. After all, we don’t advertise in Gourmet magazine because of the content, right? If we’re readers, we’re going to have deal with the mocking questions from non-vegan friends and family about how vegan food must be so unappetizing the only choice is to use pics of dead animals to get people’s attention. If they get sued by Getty over the copyright violations, then the magazine goes to court, the press gets wind, and WE ALL get made to look like fools. Plus, we lose the largest vegan pub around thanks to the utter stupidity and recklessness of the greedy publishers. I mean for pete’s sake, the majority of their written content is provided for FREE!! They do not pay contributors, so where is the money going?? They really couldn’t manage to get a $500 camera and a tabletop lighting setup? They couldn’t ask photogs to give them free pics just like they ask authors to do? What the hell???

  3. Hey Sarah, you know i rarely speak out (ha ha), but this is pretty awful.

    The deception from VegNews is astounding and troubling, and their response is unapologetic..

    I summarized my thoughts on both here:

    So wrong and so frustrating….

  4. Michelle says:

    I was actually less offended by the whole ordeal BEFORE they issued their statement. They’re are just not getting the point of why people are so mad at them. And that just pisses me off even more. I would SO much rather have no picture at all then pictures of “vegan” meat.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’m with you Dave- I haven’t read your post yet- and Chris, you nailed it. I feel completely duped; I’d rather have a shoddy looking Zine photocopied by friends and mailed out once a quarter than what VegNews is propagating: false representation of vegan food and lifestyle on every front. the whole point of recipe pics is to provide the reader with a realistic pic of what the vegan food end product should look like. Hard to do when it’s the corpse of an animal.
    And since most contributors are writing on spec or for free, where does the money go? I think VN’s hubris is shocking. Completely in excusable. Not only did they lie by omission but they didn’t even have the balls to acknowledge the stock photographer’s work, period. I stopped subscribing years ago when theiir prices for Canadian subscriptions went through the roof and at the Veg Food fair here in Toronto the VN table staffers could offer me no substantive reasoning for it other than it was too expensive for them to maintain current rates. Yet it was cheaper for me to buy it off the shelf locally. That told me then that there were serious issues afoot with management of funding.
    Shame because now it’s all for naught.

  6. larissa says:

    thats a complete and utter cop out.
    excuses excuses

  7. Rebekah says:

    I was really, really hoping for an apology and a pledge to stop using meat photos in their magazine. Beyond the fact that the photos have meat, dairy, or eggs in them, it is also troublesome that the photos are a misrepresentation of the recipes that they are placed with! I would never, ever consider making a recipe for my blog and then instead of using a photo of the actual food, using a better-looking photo of someone else’s food from a totally different recipe, even if it was vegan! This whole thing is just really sad. I used to look forward to VegNews arriving in my mailbox every two months, but it’s just ruined for me now. I’ve cancelled my subscription, but I am sure the current issue is already in the mail and I know that as I flip through it, all I will notice is MEAT!

  8. Joel says:

    It’s dissapointing to say the least. To say that their entire staff decides to use these images doesn’t just lower my opinion of one person such as the editor but the whole operation. There would be hundreds of people (myself included) that would jump at the opportunity to have my photos used in their magazines for a low fee comparable to what they pay in stock. Shame on them.

  9. Darryl says:

    I am sorry, but it’s just some stock photos.

    I’ve been vegan for 25 years and get tired of the self-righteous tone we take as a community on some non-issues. Yes it is too bad they can’t source vegan photos. The reality is that original food photography is very expensive.

    Taking a self-righteous tone like this only adds to the poor image that vegans get from non-vegans.

    Chill out!

  10. Melanie says:

    Excuses are not an apology. I think that in the first place they should have known better. Anyone with a little common sense could have predicted this reaction. They’ve also handle the situation poorly a real apology from them could have gone a long way and help them to save face. People are more likely to respect people or in this case a magazine that faced up to it’s mistakes then hear a bunch of excuses. I think their non-apology lost them lots of readers/subscribers who may have continued to support them if a real apology had been issued.

  11. I dunno Darryl, i think the message is that we care, and we don’t agree with the deception..spinning it as ‘self-righteous’ is mighty unfair.

    Do you work for VegNews? 😉

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