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FCW Insider: A necessary disclaimer

Blogger Steve Kelman made some of us at FCW more than a little uncomfortable today.


Kelman, a fixture at FCW.com and a regular columnist in the magazine for many years, posted an entry about the change in leadership underway at Federal Computer Week following the departure of Chris Dorobek.


Kelman praised Dorobek for providing "a rare breath of fresh air" when it comes to writing about government management issues, and wanted to encourage FCW's parent company to hire an editor who would maintain the balanced coverage.


Having an FCW blogger write about inside affairs at FCW is one thing. But Kelman took it one step further. He contrasted FCW's coverage with that of its competitors -- and proceeded to call out the competition by name.


That makes us really uncomfortable.


Perhaps we should have asked Kelman to revise his post -- at least to take out the direct references to the competitors. We did not do so, because, as a rule, we let our bloggers own their space, barring a clear violation of our journalistic principles.


Did Kelman cross that line? Perhaps.


In any case, I feel personally compelled to take issue with Kelman's remarks about Government Executive and Federal Times. Just writing about the competition in this space makes me uncomfortable, but it is a necessary disclaimer.


The FCW staff, as always, takes great pride in its coverage of government management issues, and we feel fiercely competitive with "those other guys" who are writing about the topic. But I would never question the quality or integrity of their coverage, even when our approaches diverge. I have the utmost respect for their staffs and their editorial stances.


One more thing, on a more personal note: Kelman is correct in noting that I plan to go back to school this coming January. But while that means I will not continue serving as FCW's editor, it does not mean I am leaving the FCW just yet.

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Sep 16, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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