Sunday, June 03, 2007


The blogger behind thinkingthings found this story from the Boston Globe which should throw more gasoline on the fire started by the Springfield News-Leader, when it suggested that bloggers should sign their names to their blogs. Just about everyone in the Ozarks province of Blogistan has thrown in their two cents, including many of the blogs listed to the right.

The story talks about Robert P. Lindeman, a pediatrician on trial for malpractice. He wrote about the trial anonymously on his blog "drfleablog," which has since been taken down. While on the stand, opposing counsel asked him if he had a medical blog. The exchange, which might have puzzled jurors, telegraphed a message that the plantiffs were ready to bring the contents of the blog into the trial. Lindeman eventually settled the case.

Thinkingthings is right. Since I'm riding her coattails with this post (thanks for the ride!), the only thing I can add is that it is truly amazing what people will say under the cloak of anonimity. Want proof? Next time I write a report on the Joplin school board, read the comments. I guarantee some anonymous writers will go way over the line with personal attacks on board members.

Nine times out of 10, an unsigned, anonymous opinion means very little to me, personally. But that tenth time, it might be pretty important. The journalist's rule of thumb regarding anonymous sources seems to apply in the debate about anonymous blogs. Anonymous sources are critical to reporting. But the public needs to have trust in the media source that there is a legitimate reason for the source to be anonymous. Seems to me that bloggers and opinion-writers who conduct themselves uncivilly do more to harm legitimate anonymous writers.

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And just to keep it stirred up...

I'm confused after looking in the Sunday edition of the NL:

the Voices section included in the blog section had a reprinted blog apparently from

1) That's not Gannett, it's Pulitzer
2) That's not local, it's STL.
3) That's not a real "blog", it's another paper.

So after that big to-do... maybe's it's muchadoaboutnothing?
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