Monday, April 21, 2008


Double-dipping blogger loses a dip

Michael Tunison, a blogger — until recently — for the Washington Post, has also been blogging pseudonymously for a sports blog. He outed himself and made some less-than-positive comments about his official employer, resulting in the “until recently” bit: the WaPo sacked him. It’s not that there was a real conflict between his writing for one and his writing for the other, but not being up front with your boss, and then pissing your boss off, to boot, is not a wise course of action.

Here are the comments on the situation by Tobin Harshaw of the NY Times, and Liz Wolgemuth of US News and World Report.

My opinion on the matter is probably coloured by the not-so-long-ago action against music critic Tim Page for his private comments to noted crack addict and general municipal embarrassment Marion Barry. When Mr Barry made those private comments public, the Post should have supported Mr Page’s right to say private things, but instead they joined in criticizing him.

And so with this: Mr Tunison should probably have known that his employer is conservative in this regard, and should certainly have discussed with his editor the fact that he was blogging around. And he shouldn’t have said things in his second gig that didn’t reflect so well on his first one. Even so, it doesn’t seem that he didn’t anything worth being fired over.

But, then, as Ms Wolgemuth says in her comments:

I’m not sure whether this is a new point of friction where old and new media chafe, or if this is an old-fashioned HR story, where an employer finds an employee’s judgment is at odds with, or threatens, the integrity of its brand. Perhaps it is a bit of both.
Whichever be the case, my respect for the Washington Post’s management continues to wane, despite the quality of the paper’s journalism.

In related news, Brazil, it seems, is coming down bloggers that don’t toe the line: With Guns and Fines, Brazil Takes On Loggers

Wait, wait... that says "loggers". Not "bloggers", "loggers". Oh. That’s very different. Never mind.

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