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The Show Me Progress official laminated blogger new media ID, (lanyard not shown, not actual size)

There’s been much hand wringing of late about the breaking news exploits of blogger Mayhill Fowler. You know, along the lines of “how dare the great unwashed commit journamalism and show us up.”

Heh. You mean like this?:

Washington Journalism on Trial

By Dan Froomkin

Special to washingtonpost.com

Thursday, February 8, 2007; 1:34 PM

…And get this: According to Russert’s testimony yesterday at Libby’s trial, when any senior government official calls him, they are presumptively off the record.

That’s not reporting, that’s enabling.

That’s how you treat your friends when you’re having an innocent chat, not the people you’re supposed to be holding accountable…

Half the battle is in actually showing up. If you don’t put the resources into actually showing up you can’t complain when somebody else does. Nature does abhor a vacuum.

And why has this come to pass?:

LA Times Editor and Publisher Forced Out For Resisting Job Cuts: A Look at the Effects of Media Consolidation on America’s Newsrooms

November 16, 2006

…Basically what he was shown the door for was drawing a line in the sand about staff cutbacks. And the reason he was drawing a line in the sand was because he’s concerned that if the size of our staff is reduced, it’s not going to be just a matter of job reduction, but it’s going to mean that we are going to reduce the number of stories we’re doing, and that’s going to be a detriment to the community end and the people that read us online around the world and around the country. So, it’s a serious issue at our paper. And if you look at all these other papers, reducing staff is going to mean reducing coverage and that’s going to create a news vacuum that’s important to citizens of this country…

Back to Mayhill Fowler:

How Mayhill Fowler got online scoops on Obama and Bill Clinton

…In her first public remarks on Clinton’s outburst, Fowler attributed her success to persistence, serendipity and an acknowledged flouting of the old rules of mainstream journalism.

“Of course he had no idea I was a journalist,” Fowler said by phone from her Oakland home, recalling her close encounter with Clinton for “Off the Bus,” a citizen journalism project hosted by the Huffington Post website. “He just thought we were all average, ordinary Americans who had come out to see him. And, of course, in one sense, that is what I am…”

If our old media did its job there would be no demand for ordinary Americans to take up the slack.

For New Journalists, All Bets, but Not Mikes, Are Off

…Among the questions posed last week was this: in an era when anyone with a cellphone and wi-fi connection can make like Tom Brokaw, do the long-accepted conventions of engagement (like a reporter’s volunteering who she is without being asked) still apply?

“This makes it very difficult for the rest of us to do our jobs,” Jonathan Alter, a columnist and political reporter for Newsweek, said in an interview. “If you don’t have trust, you don’t get good stories. If someone comes along and uses deception to shatter that trust, she has hurt the very cause of a free flow of public information that she claims she wants to assist.”

“You identify yourself when you’re interviewing somebody,” Mr. Alter added. “It’s just a form of cheating not to.”

But to Jane Hamsher, a onetime Hollywood producer who founded Firedoglake, a politics-oriented Web site that tilts left, Mr. Alter’s rules of the road are in need of repaving. For starters, she said, the onus was on Mr. Clinton to establish who Ms. Fowler was before deciding to speak as he did. That he failed to quiz her at all, Ms. Hamsher said, was Mr. Clinton’s problem, not Ms. Fowler’s. As a result, Ms. Hamsher said, the public got to experience the unplugged musings of a former president (and candidate’s spouse) in a way that might never have been captured on tape by an old boy on the bus like Mr. Alter…

Didn’t somebody once call Tom Brokaw “Duncan the wonder horse?” The sense of entitlement on the part of the old gatekeepers is touching, don’t you think?

Mayhill Fowler and “citizen journalism”

“…This isn’t that new, really (just Google the term “macaca” if you don’t believe me). The category of people known as “journalists” is becoming more fluid than it has been in the past, that much is for sure. Some will argue that it’s a good thing – that it will prevent cozy journalists from missing stories like Kennedy’s philandering or Nixon’s alcoholism or the Bush government’s rigging of data supporting the war – and others will argue that it’s bad. But it is happening nonetheless, and we’d better get used to it. For what it’s worth, I think it’s good.”

Nixon was an alcoholic? I had no idea.

Here at Show Me Progress we have business cards. We also have ID tags with our site logo and our photos which we can and do wear on a lanyard. We ask for and get media credentials to events. Our photo IDs are not so much to advertise our site (though I suppose it works as well as anything else), but so when people talk to us at an event they know we are probably going to write about what they say to us.

At the Democratic Attorney General debate in Kansas City I was asked directions from a very nice lady. She saw my blog ID tag and asked me if I was with the press. I told her I was a blogger. See, it works.

And we intend to keep showing up. After all, it’s part of our name. And because nature really does abhor a vacuum.

Rhetoric, Ethics, and Intention

June 8, 2008

“…How might Clinton have reacted if she had asked: “Mr. President, what do you think about the article Todd Purdum wrote about you in Vanity Fair?” (This, BTW, is the rhetorical approach I’d expect from a professional reporter.)…”

Now that’s a good question.