When Bloggers Are Fired

As the newspaper editor at a college in the Twin Cities some years ago, I wrote an editorial criticizing the administration for valuing its lucrative banquet business more than its students. This resulted in a visit to the president’s office, not to wax on the merits of my argument, but for a verbal “woodshed” experience. Although it wasn’t my first visit there, I was allowed to continue in my post.

Later, as a senior executive of a professional firm, I championed the plight of employees who had come to me with their grievances, which resulted in others in leadership questioning my loyalty to management.

If there had been blogs, I probably would have been in far more trouble through the years. So I understand the predicament of the self-described “famous fired flight attendant,” who is waging a campaign on behalf of bloggers. The online CBS Marketwatch reports that “Ellen Simonetti is threatening ‘blogophobic’ companies with being blacklisted by Webloggers if they don’t warm up to the online diarists.”

Simonetti left Delta Airlines after eight years because, she claims, her online “Diary of a Flight Attendant” offended management. Also known as the “Queen of Sky,” she has continued to blog and now has posted “The International Bloggers’ Bill of Rights.” It provides that Webloggers have the “freedom to blog, freedom from persecution and retaliation because of our blogs.” About 30 Webloggers have signed on, supporting the call for employers to “establish clear-cut blogging policies.” Simonetti has lists of rights, signers, and companies that she claims are “blogophobic,” and have “fired, threatened, disciplined, fined or not hired people because of their blogs.”

I’m not totally comfortable with this effort because, while I understand and sympathize with the desire to speak freely, employment by a company requires some loyalty. However, the loyalty should be reciprocal, fostering understanding by employers. Enlightened companies will allow free-spirited bloggers to speak their mind and will welcome open dialogue about their policies, strengths, and weaknesses.

Check out the site and see what you think.

Futurists try to fathom the Internet

Also from Marketwatch: Almost 1,200 technology specialists, scholars, and industry leaders were asked by the Pew Internet & American Life Project for their opinions about the future of the Internet. About 40 percent said they think civic involvement will increase because people can easily use the Net to participate in discussions and join organizations.

They believe the dawning of the blog era will bring radical change to the news and publishing industry. They expect online classes to become a common part of formal education. And they think file swapping and music-file sharing over anonymous, free, peer-to-peer networks will still be easy to perform a decade from now. Download a PDF version of the Pew report.

–James Jewell


About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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