Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Can Blogging Be a Career Killer?

An ex-student who's doing very well emailed to say he/she would post to this blog if it weren't for the fact:

the blogosphere is a occupational land mine. Sources are googling me, hurried blog posts complete with typos are coming back to haunt me and I'm not sure how to handle the editorial criticism on personal posts.

Two things:

1) Do others of you feel that way, too?

2) Okay, then create a pseudonym and post away.

Oh. A third thing: If I weren't tenured, I would keep my own mouth shut.


L. Shu said...

Hmm, I can see how my use of describing someone as a "douchebag" might haunt me later in life, but bridges have been burned a long time ago, so whatever.

I think we have very stimulating discussions here, and it'd be sad if it hurt somebody's career just because they made a comment.

Patrick Lagreid said...

In short, yes -- blogging can hurt your career.

Case in point: a young lady applied for a job in sales at my company, and after her interview, one of the interviewers looked up her MySpace page. And what was on there? Nothing really outlandish, but definitely enough to give us an idea what she does in her spare time.

I think there is a definite disconnect between the perceived and real levels of anonymousness in cyberspace. As soon as you post a photo or your name, you lose whatever disguise you think you might be hiding behind while online. And even if you think that you can be public some of the time and private some of the time, there will usually be a slip-up somewhere along the way that will come back to bite you.

Don't think it won't happen to you. And if you don't think it will happen to you, hop on over to Google and search for your name.

Patrick Lagreid said...

And one more thing -- this is just in regards to what you are posting yourself -- let's not get into what other people can post about you!

Lia Steakley said...

I don't blog under a pseudonym for the same reason I don't write under a pseudonym: accountability. It's also the same reason newspapers print people's names in the Letters to the Editor section and why editorial boards post or sign their opinion pieces and editorials.

Lack of accountability and credibility are killing the media and if journalists are going to demand transparency of government, public institutions and hopefully, one day, private corporations then reporters can’t go around hiding their identities.

I also don’t blog everything that crosses my mind and maybe that’s a good thing. Reporting is about researching facts, writing objectively and concisely and illuminating a topic. Ranting doesn’t accomplish that goal. It’s the difference between NPR and talking-head news shows like CNN’s Crossfire.

There might be a day when society doesn’t care what you put on your MySpace page. I’ve heard that back in the day reporters’ political views (if they were Dem or Rep) could be a deal breaker with sources. Even while reporting in the heart of Washington state’s staunch republican communities, I didn’t feel like anyone cared I voted democrat. Maybe they wrote it off as everyone in media is a bleading heart liberal. But for now reporters need to be accountable, including signing their work, to repair the media’s credibility. Otherwise, we’re all out of a job.