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'Wikipedia for journalists' will reveal how boring we are

November 02, 2011

So I saw this website — actually, the site might not exist, but I saw plans for the site — that promises it will act like "a Wikipedia for journalists."

 Now, presumably, since many journalists are already on Wikipedia, the "facts" are not necessarily what this new site is after. Otherwise, there would be no need.

No, this site will catalog "hundreds of journalists" and promises to produce all kinds of juicy tidbits, like the journalist's memberships, charitable donations, samples of other writings and links to the journalist's Facebook and social media pages.

I know what the inference is. We all know what the inference is: We media types are all members of the Commie Subversive Journalist Occult Society of North America, and we have a secret plan to resurrect the old Soviet Union and make it king of the New Masonic Age World Atheist Order.

To the designers of this site, I say: Good luck with that.

First of all, no one wishes this were true more than I do. Words cannot describe how much I would love to be a member of some clandestine master society that manipulates the world. I tell you this, I have more than a few motions I'd put on the floor on the first meeting, mainly having to do with places to jab knitting needles into Ruth Madoff.

Unfortunately, journalists are not organized to have a secret club. And even if we did, what would we discuss, what shade of khaki is going to be "in" for the well-dressed reporter this spring?

Yes, some journalists lead an exciting life, like the guy on TV who rolls his sleeves up around his biceps and opens his shirt down to his navel. But look at the places he gets shipped off to — Libya, Somalia, Haiti.

You want to go to Haiti? Not me. Not anymore. Adventure journalism is fun right up until the time for your first shower, and they tell you that the native custom is to heat of the water in a camel's bladder.

I know, some journalists are passionate and have a cause and all, and that usually lasts right up until the time they have their first child. After that they're more interested in soccer practice than in bringing down a presidential administration.

Yes, there were times when after work we would all go down to the bar and reminisce about big stories we worked on or the time we almost got lucky. But sad to say, we are fundamentally boring people. The last bit of life got squeezed out of us when they banned smoking in the newsroom.

You want to see our Facebook page? Have at it, but if you're looking for some vast left-wing conspiracy, I can save you the effort. We're more likely to be posting about how good the pecan logs used to be at Stuckey's.

But the real problem I have with the list is — I won't make it. As journalists go, I'm the last man picked in the draft, Mr. Irrelevant. No one will care what I think enough to open a file.

But, if the muse hits you, make an entry for me. I'd appreciate it, even if you catalog how wacked out I am. But as Mark Twain said, say anything you will about me, just don't tell the truth; when you tell the truth, you are taking unfair advantage.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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