Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seeking a Wrap-up With Editor Graham

Readers Note: It will help you understand the post below if you're familiar with the following: Chronicle editor David Graham’s Apr. 23 column here in which he outed me; the thread of his column which includes my first response to him and a Cc. to incoming Chronicle editor Chelsea Allison; and three JinC posts: Duke's Chronicle outs JinC and A Chronicle editor responds to outing in which last year’s TC editor Ryan McCartney comments and I respond; and also Chronicle editor defends outing;I respond. The posts' threads are extremely interesting. I hope you take a look at them, too.

The post below contains an email this past year's Chronicle editor David Graham sent me and my response to him.

If you're familiar with the posts and column just cited, the email exchange below is easily understood.

John
____________________________________________________

Editor Graham emailed - - -

John,

Indeed, e-mail is indisputable, but--as shown by your last e-mail--it allows you a concrete forum to spread falsehoods, or, at best, half-truths. You of all people should have known better than to *rush to the judgment* that your name had been shared by previous Chronicle staffers.

I'll allow Chelsea to respond to your first question. We found those academic
credentials by looking you up in the Duke Alumni Association directory, but if
there's an error, I'm sure we'd be delighted to run a correction in our next
edition.

Best,

David
David Graham
Editor, The Chronicle
President, Duke Student Publishing Company
_____________________________________________________________

Dear Editor Graham:

I’m sorry to be slow getting back to you. As I said in my last email, I had to publish election related posts and fact-check matters relating to your outing me in your Apr. 23 final column as The Chronicle (TC) editor. I also wanted to discuss TC with people on campus, review my posts concerning TC and read at TC’s web site many editorials, columns and news articles and their comment threads.

With those tasks completed, I’ll now respond to your email.

Regarding: “Indeed, e-mail is indisputable, but--as shown by your last e-mail--it allows you a concrete forum to spread falsehoods, or, at best, half-truths. You of all people should have known better than to *rush to the judgment* that your name had been shared by previous Chronicle staffers."

I’ll briefly restate that twice in phone conversations you agreed you’d learned my identity from your predecessor editor Ryan McCartney.

In both conversations, you did express discomfort you were bound by McCartney’s pledge to keep my identity confidential, but I've no doubt you said you were bound and would respect the pledge.

Your statements about McCartney were also consistent with how others self-IDing as TC staffers told me they’d learned my identity. (See here)

I'll allow Chelsea to respond to your first question. We found those academic credentials by looking you up in the Duke Alumni Association directory, but if there's an error, I'm sure we'd be delighted to run a correction in our next edition.

Editor Chelsea Allison did respond to my first question. I thanked her. However, her response left some unanswered questions about which I’ve emailed her. I look forward to her response.

I was initially concerned about your Apr. 23 column claim I’m Trinity ’69. I hold no such degree. I didn’t want people thinking I’d ever said I did.

I consulted with two attorneys who’ve reassured me I bear no responsibility for what I feel sure was an inadvertent error.

Therefore, I now see a correction a matter between you and TC readers; and as something not nearly as important as more serious TC errors which are uncorrected.

For example, those David Horowitz cites here. Or those TC readers cite on the thread of your Apr. 23 column. Or those I cite in this post and called to TC’s attention in an email, a copy of which you’ll find in the post.

I've also been impressed by the number of people on campus and at TC's web site who say TC readers deserve an explanation regarding why, after taking down the message boards last Summer but promising to put them back up what the academic year began, you never did that.

But if you’re going to make a correction concerning me, I ask that you do it as follows:

In his Apr. 23 column Editor David Graham said:

I know there are some readers who will be pleased to see me go, and will no doubt tell me so in the online comments on this article. I especially await the input of the cowardly ones who comment anonymously-John Matthews, Trinity '69 and Grad '76 and '84, who blogs as John in Carolina, and his ilk. Rest assured, I will enjoy reading all your comments even more than you will enjoy writing them.
John Matthews tells us he holds no Trinity degree. The Chronicle regrets the error.

John has also asked that we tell you he and his family wish TC had not outed him under any circumstances, but especially not in a way that harshly referenced other TC readers as “his ilk.”

John posts often about TC, sometimes praising our work, sometimes calling attention to factual errors or important omissions, and frequently criticizing TC editorial positions or lack thereof.

He finds the posts praising our work easiest and most satisfying to write. Those that are critical he says are hardest to write and give him little or no pleasure.

John says he’ll continue posting on TC as he has in the past.

John's asked us to be sure to say he and his family appreciate all the support they’ve received concerning the outing and we are happy to do that.
______________________________________________

Finally, Editor Graham, these items:

1) At this time I don’t plan to say anything more about the outing other than seeking answers to the questions I’ve asked Editor Allison.

2) This weekend I plan to put together a wrap-up post with very brief descriptions and links to what each of us has published on the outing matter. If the matter comes up in the future, I expect to refer people to that post.

If you wish me to include something you’ve not yet published, please let me know and I’ll include it.

But unless it introduces something entirely new and significant, I’m comfortable letting what I’ve said on the matter and my total record as a blogger speak for me.

3) In the next few days at JinC I’ll disclose some details about my identity, but will also let readers know I want to go back after that to blogging pseudonymously; and I'll tell them why.

4) If you or other TC staffers have suggestions for how I can improve JinC, I hope you’ll pass them along on the comment thread.

Sincerely,

John in Carolina

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

As somebody who reads The Chronicle daily, I respect and understand your wishes for the correction to be written as such, but I would also like to point out that the demand borders on unreasonable.

If you read TC, you should know that their corrections are never lengthy; rather, they are short and to the point.

Anonymous said...

7:57

You missed John's point.

Anonymous said...

You treated Graham better than he deserves.
Graham really turned people off.

Do you think next year will be as bad for TC?

Anonymous said...

John,

You're nice and reasonable.

Graham and his friends at TC are thinking of their careers and Dick and BOT recommendations.

I like what you do but you're in a losing fight.

Bay Girl

Anonymous said...

You give TC too much credit.

It's an open secret on campus that the edirorial board members go along with the Allen Bldg. and the facutly in exchange for recs.

My Mom didn't need to tell me that.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Archer05 said...

Graham must have missed the journalism classes on ethics.

The message board stopped because 99.9% of the comments were against Brodhead and the Gang of 88. The TC wanted the students to believe that a bunch of outsiders were trying to besmirch the good name of Duke.

I am very surprised that Kristin Butler was allowed to write as truthfully as she did. Although, I doubt she would have taken much guff from anyone. Suppressing a journalist would not look good, even at the Duke Pravda.

Anonymous said...

John:

In addition to being the editor of The Chronicle, David Graham now plays the fool.

It suits him well.

Ken
Dallas

Anonymous said...

Graham will fit right in at the NYT, at least until he gets laid off due to job cuts, due to falling revenues, due to declining readers and advertising, due to poor and biased journalism, produced by writers just like Graham.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I should have added, "and his ilk".