Friday, July 28, 2006

You Can Take This Blog and . . .

It's been a difficult month for bloggers career-wise.

A CIA "top secret blogger" was fired recently for writing about on-the-job issues at headquarters despite her limited audience within a secure Intranet. (Purists say she's an "iloger" not a "blogger," because it's not a web log but an intranet log in question.) Complaining about bad cafeteria food was apparently okay for this software expert to do, but commenting about administration policy and "waterboarding" wasn't. Now even the military considers blogs as credible sources of information, so unfortunately -- perhaps -- that newfound gravitas cuts both ways.

At the same time The Chronicle of Higher Education has run an interesting forum in which 7 Bloggers Discuss the Case of Juan Cole. According to insiders, Yale University passed over the Michigan professor and high profile Mid-East policy blogger, who authors Informed Comment, despite the support for his candidacy from search committees from two departments, because the political voice of his blog sounded too strident for some. Siva Vaidhyanathan's "The Lesson of Juan Cole" and Michael Bérubé's "The Attention Blogs Bring" are particularly apt analyses that answer the Chronicle's question: "Can Blogging Derail Your Career?" Cole himself also responds to the controversy.

(Diaristic rather than journalistic bloggers may be safer from this kind of scrutiny. And if they write from behind the front lines from war zones abroad, they might also be getting more well-deserved attention from The New York Times. See "Anne Frank 2006: War Diaries Online" for more.)



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