Re: job interview question: ethical issues about portfolio
I've gotten a couple of messages asking for clarification on where I was coming from with this question, so just to elaborate: I used to be a newspaper reporter, and in journalism it's generally frowned upon to alter samples of your published articles.Modifications to protect clients or their customers are usually considered acceptable in tech-writing. In fact, they may be a necessity if you're going to use a piece of work at all.
Otherwise, I think the proper response is either to show the work, warts and all. In this case, I would make a point of showing that I was aware of the errors, or of stressing that I wasn't responsible for the final proofreading; interviewing may not know anything about the finer points of writing, but some of them do delight in pointing out spelling or punctuation errors, and you don't want them thinking that the mistakes are yours.
A possible alternative would be to receive permission to modify them from the company, and then to present them clearly labelled as modified. Permission is a necessity here, because the company generally owns the copyright. I suggest labelling just to be as ethical as possible.
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com
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