Media Blog

CJR Experiences Listserv Blowback

Earlier today, I received the following invitation from the Columbia Journalism Review:

A roundtable on the journalism of the war, featuring four professionals who cover it. Led by NPR’s Deborah Amos, presented by Columbia Journalism Review
Just after the invasion in 2003, reporters could go almost anywhere and talk to almost anyone. Then, slowly, everything changed….
Deborah Amos, National Public Radio Anne Barnard, New York Times/Boston GlobeAli Fadhil, documentary producer Elizabeth Palmer, CBS NewsWHEN: Thursday, November 1st, at 7 p.m.

WHERE:  in the Lecture Hall of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 116th and Broadway.

It’s not clear from the invitation how “everything changed…” — presumably the ellipses indicate that the rest will be explained at the event. From the context, however, one might assume that what changed, according to CJR, is reporters’ ability to “go almost anywhere and talk to almost anyone.”
Anyone who reads Michael Yon or Michael J. Totten on a regular basis might be forgiven for scratching his head at such a statement. That must have been Kate McMillan’s reaction. Moments after the invite went out, she replied to the CJR listserv:

Is Michael Yon on your list of speakers?
Bill Roggio?
If not — why not? As these are the only credible journalists working in the region over the past year…

And a few minutes after Kate’s e-mail, none other than Michael Totten replied:

I can go almost anywhere and talk to almost anyone in Iraq right now.
William Langeweische (Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair) rented a house in the Red Zone and reported from there on and off, unembedded, for four years.

At the moment I’m watching my inbox, waiting for more fireworks. I think CJR intended this listserv to be a one-way forum for sending out notices and such. Instead, it has started a dialogue before the event has even begun. Here’s hoping its editors engage it, either on the listserv or their blog. I’ll note any updates here.

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