Introducing JournoList where “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.” Has Michael Calderone uncovered a secret, liberal journalist cabal?! Or merely a listserv of sorts for colleagues who want to get together and speak candidly and privately? Hmm. There are times when the Internet has a way of making normal behavior seem sinister. Anyway, we leave it to you to decide!
Some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker‘s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.
“It’s sort of a chance to float ideas and kind of toss them around, back and forth, and determine if they have any value,” said New Republic associate editor Eve Fairbanks, “and get people’s input on them before you put them on a blog.”
Indeed, the advantage of JList, members say, is that it provides a unique forum for getting in touch with historians and policy people who provide journalists with a knowledge base for articles and blog posts.