Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Anonymity in the New Media World

Early in my career I made a conscious decision to remain behind the TV camera as a producer. There were many reasons for this, but among them was a desire to maintain relative anonymity. When you're a TV reporter or anchor, everyone knows who you are and you never have any downtime. I remember Chet Curtis once commenting that as he sat in the stands at a Pats game, people kept calling to him , to which he had to constantly wave and respond. He couldn't just be the guy in the stands, he was always a guy everyone knows. He didn't just represent himself, but the entire TV station.

It can get exhausting. It's also why most TV anchors and reporters do what they can to keep their home hone numbers and addresses unlisted. It works to a degree, keeping the quick snoopers out, but if people want to find you they will.

Still, when it came to blogging I never thought about doing this anonymously, though I find there are plenty of people who do. What I can't figure out is, if you want your thoughts broadcast to the world, why wouldn't you put your name on them? Yes, there may be occasions when a blogger should remain anonymous, such as if they're using their blog to report, first hand, about government corruption, or if they're inside a war zone. But for the most part, how can you trust information if the person writing it won't put their name on the page?

In fact, most newspapers have taken strides to remove the veil between readers and reporters, offering up phone and email in the stories themselves. There are times when a source may remain anonymous (though I think this is often a crutch) but the reporter never does.

So why do bloggers remain anonymous? I'm not sure. I know that if a legal issue came up they could probably be uncovered, but that's just not enough. If you're going to write your thoughts and criticize people (which often happens) then put your name out there too. It's only fair.

There is one blogger local to me who maintains his anonymity, even as he can often be highly critical of individuals or even the local government. I'm not going to link to him just on principle.

I continue to read his blog, but with each post I wonder who this is, what axe he has to grind and whether he has any credibility at all. It was one thing when he only wrote about a few local restaurants, but it's quite another when he tries to go after politicians and take on other, more weighty issues.

The frustrating thing is, he does great work. Why not tell the world?

No comments: