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Monday, June 28, 2010

To the 400: I miss you

Last spring, I wrote a post on Duck of Minerva concerning a controversial leak of private emails from an off-the-record listserv called JournoList. Membership was said to include left-of-center journalists, bloggers, academics, policy wonks from think tanks, etc.

I didn't acknowledge my own membership, but I did use "open source" information about the list to defend it against charges that it served as a conspiratorial echo chamber.

Frankly, it's only been a few days since JournoList was shuttered, and I'm already experiencing significant withdrawal. I feel like I've been cut off from an invaluable community of smart, funny, and interesting people. Since sometime in 2007, the list had replaced blogs as my first place to read reactions to breaking news. List members also frequently recommended books, evaluated films, cheered their favorite sports teams, or wrote other posts that one might expect in a conversation among hundreds of bright and talented people.

There were also many lurkers on Journolist who never (or rarely) posted and the latest targeted leaks (aimed at a member who covers the conservative movement and media), might have originated from a lurker who violated members' trust. However, as other members have pointed out in various blog posts, it could have been any disgruntled member, or a hacker, or someone else who gained access to an account without permission.

Though I didn't save copies, my posts tended to be about international affairs, presidential elections, baseball, or Kansas basketball -- my areas of specialization or greatest interest. I mentioned my much-linked post on John McCain, political celebrity, on Journolist and some list members kindly linked to it. In the end, many non-members also linked it too, so forget trying to get me to identify those who wish to remain unidentified.

In any event, I already miss JournoList because I came to rely upon group members' reactions to news like the US soccer loss to Ghana, the death of Senator Robert Byrd, or the Elena Kagan hearings. It's a lot more work to track down all their blog posts and articles, believe me, as I've been doing some of that today.

If the list is reconstructed, I hope I'm fortunate enough to be included again.

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