Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gossip Goes Too Far

An email from the co-founder brought this gossip site to my attention, and made me wonder why, if even the New York Times says that gossip can be good, this site seems so very, very bad to me. Is it because I'm a parent, and the thought of having one of my kids targeted by on the site is horrifying? Is it because the site (and the co-founder) assume no responsibility for the content, legally or morally? Or is it because the site is for kids and young adults, and kids just don't need another excuse to be cruel?

We’re all part of the office grapevine, whether we participate or not. I work at a large newspaper and I’ve always felt that, if my co-workers couldn’t figure out what was going on around the office, they weren’t worth spit as reporters. Also: When you work for a newspaper, you tend to assume that everything is on the record. So, I try to be careful about what say and do.

Our kids are not as circumspect. Of course, we don’t really expect them to be. But we try to encourage them to be respectful and to treat others as they’d like to be treated themselves. Right?

And then there’s Gossip Report. ... [More]

I'm not linking to the site because, after exploring it and reading a lot of the content there, I just can't support it. As a journalist, I can appreciate the freedom-of-speech issue raised by GossipReport. As someone with an interest in online media, I'm intrigued by the whole platform-vs.-publisher issue the co-founder and I discussed in an email exchange. But as a parent? I think it's irresponsible and reprehensible to enourage teenagers to prey on one another.

What do you think? Join the discussion at The 36-Hour Day.

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