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Author Topic: Watch what you post online!
robbie_dee
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posted 26 January 2005 01:21 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
St. Louis Reporter suspended for Blogging

quote:
Attack of the Blog
A Post reporter is suspended for extracurricular Internet activities
BY BEN WESTHOFF
ben.westhoff(at)riverfronttimes.com

Following publication of an Unreal item in last week's Riverfront Times, newsroom management at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch seized the computer hard drive of staff writer Daniel P. Finney and suspended him from reporting duties.

The Unreal piece, "Local Blog o' the Week," highlighted an online diary written under the pseudonym Roland H. Thompson. Though Finney did not identify himself by name in the blog, titled "Rage, Anguish and Other Bad Craziness in St. Louis," he chronicled minute details of his life, including lengthy passages about his job as a Post-Dispatch features writer.

Sources at the Post who informed Riverfront Times of Finney's suspension say the newsroom was abuzz over the action, thought to be one of only a few instances in which an American journalist has been disciplined because of a personal blog.
***
Firing employees for their private blogs is nothing new. U.S. Senate mail clerk Jessica Cutler made national headlines earlier this year when she lost her job after detailing her sexual escapades with Senate staffers. "There were a rash of firings and other diciplinary procedures when private Web pages first came out and again when blogs first came out," writes Clyde Bentley, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, in an e-mail response to a request for comment. "Most companies developed policies, similar to their other "moonlighting" policies. Generally, if the material was collected and processed at work, it is supposed to stay at work. Many companies, however, co-opted the process by sponsoring the blogs of their employees and making the blog a part of their regular work."

The instances of reporters being fired for their online activities is relatively rare. In 2002 the Houston Chronicle fired fifteen-year veteran reporter Steve Olafson for the contents of his blog, "The Brazosport News." Writing under the pseudonym Banjo Jones, Olafson aired his opinions about the Chronicle and about local politicians he covered for the paper.

"If you're an employee of a news organization you ought to know that anything you publish gets read by people," says Robert Niles, editor of the University of Southern California Annenberg's Online Journalism Review. "If you're going to embarrass yourself on a personal Web site and think that your employer or people who know your employer aren't going to find out about it, then you're a fool. You should know better than that. If you're a good reporter, you'd find somebody else doing it, so you've got to figure that somebody else is going to find out on you.


Read the Rest

[ 26 January 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 26 January 2005 02:42 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here was the ultimate fallout:

Riverfront Times

quote:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Daniel P. Finney has resigned from the newspaper following the discovery of his blog. First seen by Post management after being excerpted by the Riverfront Times [Unreal, December 15], the blog contained unflattering remarks about Finney's employer and story subjects.
Finney's hard drive was seized on December 16, and he was suspended around the same time. Apparently, the St. Louis Newspaper Guild then entered into discussion with Post brass about Finney's fate. A week later, he resigned. Neither the Post nor Finney would discuss the details of the resignation, but Finney says that the paper did not pressure him.


I think its always odd that one thing that will get you fired most often in the mainstream journalism biz is writing the truth.


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 26 January 2005 02:56 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not a journalist, but if I set up a blog disparaging my employer and co-workers I'd be fired too.

Sure he was telling the truth, but he wasn't reporting news. He was reporting petty gossip and (almost certainly) violating the terms of his employment. He was also showing such appallingly bad judgement as to call into question his ability to perform his job.


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 26 January 2005 03:01 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Personally I do not read blogs because I detect a complete lack of journalistic integrity and a sense of responsibility in many of them. I think they're just forums for gossip.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 26 January 2005 03:01 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have to agree with R.B.: publicly slagging your employer or their affiliates (in this case people who'd presumably consented to allow the paper to interview them) is a resignation waiting to happen. File this under "D" for "Duh!"

I do wonder why they seized his hard drive though. Libel suit? Otherwise the paper's rights should have begun and ended as a human resources issue, not a legal one.

And just out of curiousity, what happened sometime between 2001 and now to make people believe that the entire world gives a damn about their every waking thought?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
spatrioter
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posted 26 January 2005 03:08 PM      Profile for spatrioter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
And just out of curiousity, what happened sometime between 2001 and now to make people believe that the entire world gives a damn about their every waking thought?
Warren Kinsella discovered the internet?

From: Trinity-Spadina | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 26 January 2005 03:20 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I assumed they meant his hard drive at work, and the reason would be to obtain evidence in case he wouldn't resign and wanted to sue for wrongful termination.

And to the "sharing your every thought" question, you (and I) are reactive type people, based on what I see here. Your gift is in picking up on things others say and reacting to them in manner others wouldn't, generally quite spontaneously.

As such, a blog wouldn't satisfy your creative impulses, nor would it display your talents.

[ 26 January 2005: Message edited by: RealityBites ]


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 26 January 2005 03:46 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Egalitarian American:

I think its always odd that one thing that will get you fired most often in the mainstream journalism biz is writing the truth.

I should have added an emoticon to that or something to indicate that was a tongue in cheek remark. Of course you can't slag your employer like that in a public forum and expect to keep your job. I just saw the irony.

You know from the inside here it is true and journalism is no different from any other business in this regard -- critical examination by employees is a minefield. Most editors think they are God's gift to the craft. Only a few are. I'm not an editor, though, so my bias is showing.


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 26 January 2005 04:14 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
Personally I do not read blogs because I detect a complete lack of journalistic integrity and a sense of responsibility in many of them. I think they're just forums for gossip.

Boom Boom, much as I love you, I have to dispute this.

There are all kinds of blogs, operating at all sorts of levels, and we're still waiting for the full shake-out. But many are already operating at a considerably higher level of journalistic integrity, I think, than the MSM.

As EA suggests in his comments about editors he has known, there's a double-edge to editorial oversight: yes, it can work to enforce higher standards of research and writing both; but yes also, it can work to suppress and homogenize.

That many good journalists are now running their own blogs -- more openly and wisely than the first subject of this thread -- is an interesting development, and an endorsement of the blogosphere, I think, as well as a criticism of the limits of the MSM.

We're thinking potential here, people.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 26 January 2005 04:47 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I don't like _any_ of the blogs I've read. I think the authors are incredibly narcisstic and self-centered. But that's my take. I wouldn't shut them down if I had the opportunity - it keeps these folks busy, and that's a good thing, using this dictum:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use the Net and he won't bother you for weeks.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 26 January 2005 04:49 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's very insightful, Boom Boom. You should get a blog.
From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 26 January 2005 05:00 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Boom Boom, have you read our

pogge, who won Best Liberal Blog in the 2004 Canadian Blog Awards?

Or our

polunatic, aka Non-partisan partisan?

Or our

sgm, creator of No BMD, eh?

Eh?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 26 January 2005 05:16 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My goal is now to create a blog that even Boom Boom will like.

I'll let you know.


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 26 January 2005 05:28 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good luck. I like reading objective reporting and intelligent views on subjects of your choice, but not narcissism.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 26 January 2005 05:29 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
Boom Boom, have you read our

pogge, who won Best Liberal Blog in the 2004 Canadian Blog Awards?

Or our

polunatic, aka Non-partisan partisan?

Or our

sgm, creator of No BMD, eh?

Eh?


No to all of the above, but I'll get started.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 26 January 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Son of a gun - all three of those blogs are quite good!

Will have to stick to reading Canadian blogs - the Yankee ones are the ones I found most distressing.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Américain Égalitaire
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posted 27 January 2005 03:13 PM      Profile for Américain Égalitaire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
Son of a gun - all three of those blogs are quite good!

Will have to stick to reading Canadian blogs - the Yankee ones are the ones I found most distressing.


Aw come on, give my new blog a shot:

Front Row Seat


From: Chardon, Ohio USA | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 27 January 2005 03:16 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Son of a gun - all three of those blogs are quite good!

They are, aren't they!

The bloggers are cute, too.

And I'm off to size up EA's.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 27 January 2005 03:26 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like cute and perky, myself, but haven't seen any blogs by women yet. Are they out there?
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 27 January 2005 03:30 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Aw come on, give my new blog a shot:

Front Row Seat

Very well done!

Take a bow.

Boom Boom, supercool baby boomer dude, impressed.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 27 January 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, you could try clicking on our audra's profile and following on from there.

There's a fine American blog run by the fine American Melanie called Just a Bump in the Beltway that I suspect both you, Boom Boom, and EA would admire very much.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 27 January 2005 04:33 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the links. I'm pleasantly surprised to see so many good blogs out there. I can't stand the Norman Spector - Warren Kinsella type stuff. Or the US blogs I've come across in the past year or so. Too much testosterone and self-promotion. I'm the quiet type, quite a change from all those years of getting my ya-yas out.

Boom Boom, quiet ultracool retired baby boomer.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 27 January 2005 09:55 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't actually link to my blog from my profile, skdadl, and I find your promotion of it a lot more half-hearted than your promotion of the blogs of babble's nice young men(tm)
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 27 January 2005 10:03 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A lot of blogs are run by very knowledgeable people, and they don't have many of the pretensions of the ordinary media. I like biases to be handed to me upfront. For that reason, when I read newspapers, I tend to read oped pages more than the "actual" news pages.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged

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