CK Hall of Fame 2007 & The Drama That Has Ensued…

I tell ya’, you go away for a little scrapbook retreat weekend, and this is what happens! Here is the gist of the story as I can gather it, only having time to scan a huge amount of posts at Creating Keepsakes and 2 Peas message boards from the last few days:

When the CK 2007 Hall of Fame book which showcases the winners came out recently, it was noted that one of the winners (Kristina Contes) had used at least one photo in her entry that was not taken by her – as required by contest rules. Apparently, there was no doubt about who took the photo, as photo credit was given to Nisa Flin, who happens to be a professional photographer. There were lots of questions being asked about how she could have won, given that the rules weren’t entirely followed. Today, this message was posted on CKMB by way of explanation:

“It has been brought to our attention that in CK’s The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9, we inadvertently listed an incorrect photo credit with the “Family of 3” layout. This was an editorial oversight on our part. CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin and for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone. If you have any further questions or suggestions, please e-mail us your thoughts at letters@creatingkeepsakes.com and be sure to include “HOF Comments” in the subject line.

Brian Tippetts
Editor-in-Chief
Creating Keepsakes”

Well, no one was buyin’ it, to say the least. The responses to that message from Brian have now reached 10 pages, and still going strong. The statement that “CK apologizes to Kristina Contes for accrediting her photos to Nisa Fiin” was not accepted by the masses because there is apparently evidence abounding on the internet that the photo was indeed taken by Nisa Flin. Well, that led to the point that, on further examination of the HOF entries, there are possibly several entries with photos not taken by the entrant. As you can imagine, those HOF entrants who DID follow all of the rules, and took pains to only include photos taken by themselves, are pretty ticked. Others asked, essentially, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a contest. Everyone makes mistakes, even CK. At least they admitted it and apologized.” Which was responded to with, essentially, “It’s not ‘just a contest’ if you put countless hours and inspiration and money into your HOF entry, and took pains to follow every single rule, only to lose to someone (or several someone’s) who didn’t follow the rules.” Another point being made is that, for those who would like scrapbooking to be a career or professional accomplishment, winning or losing HOF is an entirely big deal. I would equate it to Halle Berry winning the Oscar ~ you betcha’ she got a lot more and better roles after that and deservedly so. Winning big contests or awards is a way for excellence to be recognized, put on a pedestal, and shown to a much wider audience. In response to complaints of posts being deleted by CK because they questioned the contest, CK posted this Reminder:

“Thank you for being a part of the CK message board! We would just like to remind everyone of the guidelines you agreed to follow when you created a message board account. Messages that do not uphold these guidelines will be pulled.

You agree to be respectful of others’ ideas and opinions. You will not use any expression of racism, bigotry, obscenity or profanity (including asterisks [*] to represent profanity). We will not permit such comments.

You agree to not make personal attacks, or “flames.” (Flames are comments about a person rather than about his or her opinions.) In addition, you agree to refrain from posting libelous remarks about companies or individuals. Libel is defined in Webster’s II New College Dictionary as “A written, printed or pictorial statement that defames one’s character or reputation or exposes one to public ridicule.” We reserve the right to remove messages that we consider libelous. This is a serious matter. If you post libelous remarks, legal action can be taken against you. To learn more about libel, see www.firstgov.gov or the Libel Defense Resource Center.

You agree to be respectful of Creating Keepsakes and our staff. We are happy to provide this message board as a free service, but we reserve the right to delete messages that are disrespectful to us. We work hard for you, and we appreciate your polite consideration as you make comments about our staff and our publications.

Please see our guidelines for further details: http://www.creatingkeepsakes.com/mb/guidelines.ihtml
_________________
CK Online”

And after bunches of negative (and some positive) feedback to his original statement, Brian added this to his original post:

“UPDATE:

Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue. According to the information we have received, the photo credit attributed to Nisa Fiin that appeared with the “Family of 3” layout on page 20 of The Scrapbook Hall of Fame, Volume 9 should have appeared with the “This Is Real” layout on page 49, the “Laughter” layout on page 107, and the “Precious” layout on page 159. We admit this is inconsistent with the statement in the Official Rules that “Entries, including photographs, must be the sole work of the entrant.” During the judging process, we had no information that the stated photos were taken by someone other than the contestant. We apologize for any confusion this has created regarding the Hall of Fame Contest. Because of the lengthy speculation regarding this issue, we would like to explain our judging process in depth to provide insight into why photographs have appeared in The Scrapbook Hall of Fame special issue that are not the sole work of the entrants.

Before judging the entries, we verify that each one follows the specified format, which is:

“1. Complete the scrapbooking assignments listed on the reverse side. For the purposes of this contest, a “layout” is a one- or two-page scrapbook layout that conveys a single theme. Assignments are also listed at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof.
“2. You can send us your assignment layouts in three different ways. (1) Take photographs, (2) print computer scans or (3) make reduced color copies (so that four layouts fit on one side of a sheet of 8½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper). Do not send original layouts; we are unable to return materials. On the back of each color copy, photograph or printed scan, print your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and a complete list of supplies used to create the layout (including both the manufacturer and product name of each supply used).
“3. Affix the color copies, photographs or printed scans to the fronts of three sheets of 8 ½” x 11” or 12” x 12” paper (three or four layouts to a page) by applying photo tabs or glue stick to the backs (unselected, unpublished layouts will be separated after judging to be considered for use in the magazine and future special issues). Identify each layout with a label corresponding to the assignment letter that the layout fulfills.”

The Official Rules state that “Entries that do not follow the specified format, or that include more or less than 10 scrapbook layouts, will automatically be disqualified from the 2007 Scrapbook Hall of Fame contest.”

Once we have completed this disqualification round, we judge entries on a “blind” basis, which means that we do not have access to the entrant’s name when we view his/her layouts. We have no way of knowing whether the contestant is among the people pictured in the photos and as such cannot verify whether photos are the sole work of the entrant during the judging process. Even if we could verify that, the disqualification round has been completed, and while we expect entrants to follow the guidelines, our only policy for disqualification is stated in the previously mentioned formatting requirements.

Fairness in identifying the industry’s top talent has always been our top priority. Entrants who follow our specified format, sign the agreement that they have followed the Official Rules and exhibit talent based on our judging criteria are awarded the title of Hall of Fame.

Because we cannot verify that all photos are the sole work of the entrants and because of the feedback we have received, we are seeing legally what we can do to address this issue in the 2008 Hall of Fame Contest and will also address it in future contests. Please check www.creatingkeepsakes.com/hof2008 in the upcoming weeks for an updated message.

As a final note, we’d also like to address any concerns that the CK editorial team has been removing posts from the message board as some sort of cover up. This is not the case. Only those posts which violate the TOU of the message board will be removed. Please see the “Reminder” post from CK Online in the Scrapbooking forum for further clarification.

Brian Tippetts
Editor-in-Chief
Creating Keepsakes”

Again, the ladies aren’t buyin’ it. In a nutshell, those who are upset feel that, even given the way HOF entries are judged, this situation shouldn’t have happened. At some point in the process, CK should have caught the inconsistency even if the entrants mistakenly or purposely did not follow the contest rules. There are posters threatening legal action, to cancel CK subscriptions, never buy a CK product or attend a CK event, enter any scrapbook contest, etc etc. To say the people are upset would be the understatement of the year. Unfortunately, this situation has made the normally peaceful CKMB ~ my very own Happy Place ~ into something resembling the Ultimate Fighting Championships. “New” members or “newbies” – an assumption based solely on their post count being under 20 or so – at first appeared to be the ones leading the negative charge against CK, and it was noted by some “old timers.” Others stuck up for the so-called newbies, pointing out that they may in fact be established members who started a new identity for fear of backlash after stating their opinions. I understand this; if I were an established CKMB’er who followed the rules of HOF and then discovered this problem, I would start a new ID before posting my true feelings. I don’t care what anyone says, there is professional backlash in the scrapbooking industry, just like in every other. Anyhow, then discussions started about how newbies aren’t welcomed, nay run off, at CKMB…then the defenders spoke up saying that wasn’t true.

I think where it stands now is just a running discussion of disappointment in CK and how the contest and aftermath have been handled. I know there are blogs where this is also being hammered out, and I do mean hammered with a capital H, but I don’t have the heart to read them right now.

{My disclaimer: I’m not involved in this situation. I’m not making accusations or statements or pointing fingers. I’m merely summarizing what I’m reading on message boards and quoting directly from statements made by CK in a public forum.}

I didn’t enter HOF or any other scrapbooking layout contest, nor do I plan to, that’s just not my bag. But I did once enter a contest to win a scrapbook store (yes, a scrapbook store!) that was closing. You submitted a layout with extensive journaling about why you should win the store and I poured my heart, soul, and lots of money into that contest. I can’t tell you the disappointment when I was told the contest was cancelled for not enough entries. So I can completely understand the pain this HOF situation causes to people. But, personally, I’m the type that likes to ‘wait and see’ in situations like this. I’m not going to comment yet, but let things settle in my heart and brain for awhile. I also want to see if CK does or says anything else before I make any kind of judgment about them. I can tell you it’s not looking good. But I wanted to share this event with you and hear your thoughts if you’re NOT kinda’ shocked speechless like I am. Yes, I know ‘it’s only scrapbooking’, but to the Scrapbook Obsessed, it’s a big deal…

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