Boulder, Colorado—Bradford Smith, a 31-year-old freelance journalist located in Boulder, performed 1 hour and 33 minutes of intermittent research last month. Smith underwent this unprecedented step in preparation for an article on new fitness trends he submitted to Outside Magazine.
“Normally I just copy and paste whatever talking points the ACSM spokesman sends,” Smith explained. “But last time some blogger called me out for recommending that triathletes drink as much Gatorade as tolerable. My editor caught wind of it and told me I should probably make sure my content doesn’t kill anyone going forward.”
After sacrificing an entire mid-morning of checking Twitter, Smith discovered that millions of people around the world have improved their health by avoiding sugary beverages and regularly lifting barbells. He titled his article, “New Fitness Trend: Doing Stuff that Works.” In the piece he noted that this trend was sweeping the world, yet he wondered why the ACSM’s list of fitness trends does not mention effective diet and exercise programs anywhere. Smith submitted his final draft to Outside Magazine last week.
Outside’s editor-in-chief told Smith, “We can’t run this. You need to find a middle ground between the truth and what our advertisers can live with.”
The editor BCC’d the ACSM and NSCA’s leadership boards.
Smith’s ordeal occurred amid a growing controversy over the lack of government regulation for journalists. ACSM and NSCA officials have recently discussed requiring writers to obtain government licenses prior to researching the topics of their articles. ACSM’s Robert Cottondick even suggested suing Smith for libel, apparently unaware that you cannot sue journalists for unpublished material.