For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.As I say, I saw that report. I've seen an ever-increasing number of bloggers spreading the word.
I've even read Ezra Klein's description of what JournoList is. He's the founder and organizer, if that's not too strong a word to use for a listserv mailing list. (In my own experience moderating mailing lists, I "organize" them only in the sense that the person who cleans out a litter box "organizes" it.)
Having read and digested this...Well, actually, I'm thinking I shouldn't use the word "digested" so soon after talking about a litter box. But I believe I've arrived at a reasoned, reasonable reaction: So what?
The idea, then as now, was to foster a safe space where policy experts, academics, and journalists could freely talk through issues, bringing up the questions they considered urgent and the information they thought important, with the result being a more informed commentariat. It's been of immense value to me, and through that, of value to my readers.This all sounds eminently reasonable. It's the 21st century equivalent of going out to the corner bar after work, granted more importance than it deserves because it's On The Internet.
As for sinister implications, is it "secret?" No. Is it off-the-record? Yes. The point is to create a space where experts feel comfortable offering informal analysis and testing out ideas.
(Oh: The photo has nothing to do with this story. I just thought it was purty.)