Monday, September 27, 2010

When traditional media exposes public service bloggers

On Monday, 27 September 2010, Grog, of the Grog's Gamut blog, was outed by James Massola of The Australian as Greg Jericho, a federal public servant who happens to blog on matters of politics.

Massola, in his article Controversial political blogger unmasked as a federal public servant, has questioned Grog's right to challenge journalistic views, veiled under the question of whether, as a public servant, he was entitled to blog about politics.

Grog addressed this question through his own blog in a post, Spartacus no more, where he outlined the APSC's guidance, which states:

It is quite acceptable for APS employees to participate in political activities as part of normal community affairs.

APS employees may become members of or hold office in any political party.

APS employees, whether or not they are members of political parties, are expected to separate their personal views on policy issues from the performance of their official duties. This is an important part of professionalism and impartiality as an APS employee.

Where an APS employee is involved in publicly promoting party or other views on certain issues, and where their duties are directly concerned with advising on or directing the implementation or administration of government policy on those issues, there is potential for conflicts of interest.

Grog went on to say that he's never commented on anything other than publicly available material and did not comment on matters related to his specific duties.

I have never written anything which I have gleaned through work. All information I use comes from the media or press releases or public reports. This is pretty clear from anyone who regularly reads this blog – you never find “breaking” or “inside” news here – you find opinion and analysis.

The only thing that I find noteworthy about this 'expose' is that it demonstrates the fallacy of the argument that keeping your personal and professional identities separate online is an effective mechanism for resolving unwarranted perceptions of inappropriate online engagement.

While it is nice to believe that you can post online under a pseudonym and remain anonymous, this is rarely sustainable in the long-run. When someone is 'exposed' as using a pseudonym it becomes newsworthy simply due to the sensation.

I wish all the best to Grog - Greg Jericho.

And in the interests of the continued growth of Gov 2.0 in Australia, I hope he will have the clear support of his managers.

Follow the discussion of this topic on Twitter using the hashtags #groggate and #grogsgate.

Statistics on the use of the Twitter hashtags is available at What the trend.
Articles and posts for 27 September:
ABC The Drum - Grog's great anonymity gamble
An Onymous Lefty - Grog-gate: Outing as bullying
Ariane's Little World - A person is not their job
B Sides - Privacy is not a gift for journalists to bestow or withdraw
Catherine Deveny - Groggate
Catallaxy Files - MSM arrogance
Core Economics - Transparency and blogging
Crikey / Pure Poison - The Grog’s Gamut outing: In whose interest? 
Crikey - The whys and wherefores of bureaucratic blogging
Dermott Banana - Outings 
eGovAU (here) - When traditional media exposes public service bloggers
Girl with a satchel - Monday Media Study: Grazia's Bingle Bungle & Groggate
Herald-Sun - Get away with you
Hoyden About Town - If you can’t defend yourself, you shouldn’t be allowed to speak
IAIN HALL's Sandpit - Grog’s Greg outed … so what? 
I'm not Tina Wheeze - LOVE, ANON
Larvatus Prodeo - Grog’s Gamut outed by The Australian
Mediakult - Not navel gazing at Media140 (mentions in the conclusion)
Misc and Other - Why I don’t use my real name on twitter
Mumbrella - Australian outs blogger Grog’s Gamut
Mumbrella - Why the Grog’s Gamut outing harms The Australian
Random Black Heart Glitter Moments - On #groggate
The Accidental Australian - Outing the anonymous blogger. Good for the gander?
The Angry Exile - MSM vs Blogosphere - UPDATED
The Australian - No anonymity to bloggers, tweeters
The Australian - Twittersphere hit by storm over whether political blogger had a right to anonymity
The Bannerman - No Opinions Without Reality…or, Who Is James Massola?
The Conscience Vote - Who has the right to speak?
The Failed Estate - Now that We Have Your Attention...
The Gutter Trash - The Australian launches attack on Independent Blogger Grog’s Gamut
The news with nipples - Who gets to be anonymous?
The Vicious Circle - The Grog’s Gamut Irony
The Vicious Circle - Jack the Insider on team #Gamut?
    A follow-up article from James Massola explaining his decision to 'out' Grog, released at midnight on 28 September:
    The Australian - Why I unmasked blogger Grog
      Articles and posts for 28 September:
      A Shiny New Coin - no, I am GrogsGamut
      ABC The Drum - Bullet by bullet, the bloggers win the war
      An Onymous Lefty - Jeremy's ear (not really on topic but mentions as an aside)
      Ash's to Ashes blog - Confessions of a Blogger
      Australia Incognita - Anonymity and the blogger
      Blogging Townsville - Mudoch's approach to his papers' critics - will Island View be next?
      Crikey - Simons: it wasn’t unethical to name Grog’s Gamut
      Crikey - The Oz’s Bolt loose … science of pop-news … (touches on)
      Crikey / Pollytics - Gibbons throwing poo
      Crikey / Pure Poison - Don’t you know who I’m not?
      Crikey / Pure Poison - Massola raises the stakes
      Goonanism - A Passing Note on Grog’s Gamut
      Grahame LJ - Anonymity and blogging
      Happy Antipodean - Tuesday, 28 September 2010 
      Larvatus Prodeo - #Grogsgate and the right to privacy
      Mumbrella - Blogger-outing journo: Grog’s Gamut was tweeting during work time
      Online Opinion - Blogs and anonymity - another News conspiracy?
      Ozylum – Asylum in Australia - New Media 
      Peter Martin - No-one should be forcibly reduced to a single identity
      The Australian - A storm on the internet (Why should web writers escape scrutiny and responsibility?)
      The Australian - Journalist threatened over Twitter outing
      The Australian - The Oz declares war on bloggers: Rosen
      The Australian - Blogosphere and Twitter no more than an echo chamber
      The Bannerman - How Do They Insult Us? Let Us Count The Ways
      The Canberra Times - The outing of a favourite blogger
      The Failed Estate - The Empire Strikes Back
      The Gutter Trash - The Australian: Accused of Just “Making Stuff Up” (Again)
      The National Times - Tweets get messy as mainstream media takes on the blogosphere
      The Riot Act - On Greg Jericho, groggate, and the public service.

      Articles and posts for 29 September:
      ABC The Drum - Why I'm quitting Twitter (Groggate given as influential)
      Billablog - Who will be the next Grog-gate?
      Dave from Albury's Weblog - Outing an amateur
      HarrangueMan - Speaking of partisan chum buckets...
      Insert Clever Title Here - Now we know who Grog is... what changed... #groggate
      Instances of Ass Clownery - James Massola is an Ass Clown
      Preston Towers - To Grog or Not to Grog
      The Australian - Speak Queasy (see section on 'The Battle of Jericho)
      The Dummer Press - We're under attack!
      The Register - Media group faces both ways on the issue

      Articles and posts for 30 September:
      ABC The Drum - Quality sets The Australian apart
      Black Dog - The Australian's War on Australia
      The Australian - Grog blogger keeps his job
      The Notion Factory - Anonymous

      Articles and posts for 1 October:
      Cafe Whispers - Fran speaking frankly (small mention)
      Crikey - And the Wankley goes to… The Oz’s war on everything (bloggers, this week)
      SBS World News Byte Me - #grogsgate raises enduring questions
      The Bannerman - Burn Baby, Burn!

      Articles and posts for 2 October:
      Daily Dose - Kate’s Corner ~ Being “Outted” in Australian Society
      Happy Antipodean - Saturday, 2 October 2010
      James Purser [INSERT WITTY CATCHPHRASE HERE] - Grog Thoughts
      The Australian - Test of Twitter-led revolution reveals a character limit

      Articles and posts for 3 October:
      Billablog - Grog-Gate 2  or We aren’t the ones who don’t get it, YOU are!
      B Sides - A couple more points about Grogsgate
      Crikey - The Content Makers - More on the Ethics of Outing Grog’s Gamut 
      Gary Sauer-Thompson's Weblog - Conversations - Twitter
      Kate Carruthers - My Amplify - the continued misunderstanding of the relationship between Twitter & activism is getting annoying #groggate
      Still life with cat - More on Grog's Gamut
      The Australian -  Salvos lobbed in the great blog war of '10
      The Bannerman - Questionable Irony
      The Bannerman - Going Through Hell, On A War Horse Called ‘Right’ 

      Articles and posts for 4 October:
      ABC The Drum - Anonymous sources no window to truth
      Aide-Memoire - Twitter, commonsense and journalism #groggate
      My Red Crayon - Grog Gate, may his legacy be a change for the better.
      Restless Capital - Last word on #Groggate
      sminney's posterous - "Media" 2-10-10 Deconstructed -  Naked Lies & Long Noses: from Watergate to #Groggate (a mention)
      The Australian - As the anonymous walls of Jericho fall, the great blog war of '10 begins

      Articles and posts for 5 October:
      A Shiny New Coin - To speak in the first person
      ABC The Drum - The Australian. Think. Again.
      Aide-Memoire - Public discourse and private citizens – how free is freedom of speech? #groggate
      Crikey - The Content Makers - Information Brokerage and Citizenship. More Reflections on Grogs Gamut
      eGovAU - In the noise of #Groggate, don't forget those silenced
      SkepticLawyer - Journalists are Luddites #groggate
      Sydney Morning Herald - Journalists' jealousy behind a blogger unmasked  The Canberra Times - Battle of Jericho
      The Punch - Hitting journos where it really hurts: a handy guide
      Upstart - Narcissus, Grog’s Gamut and a self-obsessed media

      Articles and posts for 6 October:
      eGovau - Stats on articles and posts for #Groggate (includes statistics on all articles mentioning Groggate listed in this post)

      Articles and posts for 7 October:
      Crikey - The Content Makers - Pseudonyms and Anonymity – a Previously Unpublished Case Study.
      Mediakult - Blogging under the radar (references Grog)

      Articles and posts for 8 October:
      Townsville Bulletin - Cowardly world of bloggers
      Blogging Townsville - The Townsville Bulletin celebrates our first birthday with style

      Articles and posts for 10 October:
      Peter Martin - The Australian does not follow a party line
      the political sword - Grog, do come back – we need you

      Articles and posts for 11 October:
      ret's posterous: Cowardly world of bloggers - jeez that's rich

      Articles and posts for 14 October:
      The Australian - Grog's blog back in business

      Articles and posts for 16 October:
      Woolly Days - Grog rations (NEW)

      Articles and posts for 17 October: - The Australian and the new Battle of Jericho

      Related information and news:
      ABC - Mark Scott's speech: The Quest for Truth: Quality Journalism and a 21st Century ABC (where Grog's comments about the mainstream media were first seem as influential) 
      Grog's Gamut - Election 2010: Day 14 (or waste and mismanagement – the media) (the original article from Grog referenced by Mark Scott)

      Australian Press Council - Balancing privacy and press freedom
      Online Journalism Blog - Time to talk about legal
      Restless Capital - Brief historical reflections on anonymity and pseudonymity
      The Australian -  Twitter speaks and the ABC listens
      The Australian - Hobby writers keep pros on their toes
      The Advertiser - Censoring free speech in the secret state
      The Herald-Sun - Outrage as South Australia's Rann Government, Opposition unite to gag internet election debate
      The Sydney Morning Herald - Iranian blogger jailed for 19 years (Aside - Don't we use 'gaoled' anymore?)
      The Guardian -  No one gains from blowing the cover of this secret policeman
      J352: Intro to Online Journalism - Blogger outed by journalist on Twitter
      The Wall - BBC’s Marr blasts bloggers: socially inadequate, pimpled, single and seedy

      Other mediums:
      27 September - ABC Q&A - Politics, Betrayal and Sex (See closing remarks from Senator Conroy)
      1 October - The Australian Media Series Audio Webcast - Grogs-gate: A storm in a tweetcup
      2 October - 702 ABC Sydney - The Sunday Panel - To Twitter or Not to Twitter (see last few minutes)
      3 October - Cartoon - grogsgamut droogisheep #274

      A UK view from their 2008 Civil Serf debate:
      DavePress -  Public servants must blog, despite Civil Serf
        There's a Twibbon in support of Grog.

        There's also a Facebook page, If 100,000 people like this page I'll name my firstborn Grogs Gamut.

        There's this T-shirt (I work in the public service and I tweet) and this T-shirt (Murdoch outed me and all I got was this crummy hashtag #GrogGate T-Shirt) - created by Black Bobs

        And a poll I've set up asking - Do journalists have a right to remain anonymous?


        1. Thanks for this post Craig. Grog is a citizen and a person before he is a public servant and is entitled to his private views and observations of what is happening in the media space. This is what citizen publishing is all about - a subject not explored enough at the recent media140. Journalists were pretty slow with taking up the internet as a form of communication, activists and communities have been the leaders in this space and that is a subject that needs more attention by the 'media'.

        2. I think your question of "do Journalists have the right to remain anonymous" is the wrong question. Grog was never anonymous, rather he used a different name to that which he used as work. But as he stated in his piece today, his name was consistent across the 'Net. The question is really, if you don't used your "birth certificate" name, is it important for that to be matched?

        3. For completeness, you may want to add to your great list of links on the topic, the original post of Grog's that Mark Scott was referring to:

        4. Now we know who Grog is… what changed… #grogsgate

        5. Thanks for this excellent resource!

          Got one more for you:

        6. there is an example of Tshirt art prior to mine

        7. Thanks Wolf, Bill and Black Bobs



        8. Hi Craig,

          You can find the article I quoted in the NewsText archive.

          Grog blogger keeps his job by James Massola

        9. They won't let this go up here in North Qld!!

          See today's editorial in the Townsville Bulleting and my response here:

          Great post by the way Craig...

        10. Thanks Island view.

          Shame that the Townsville Bulletin didn't look at my post on the statistics around Groggate.

          Only 14% of blog posts were actually anonymous - and 11% of mainstream online newspaper coverage was anonymous. Not much difference really.