Gross Speaks (A Little). And the Perils of the Blogosphere

First and foremost, here's an interview that Channel 7's just-departed meteorologist Todd Gross did with Max Preston of Boston TV News. There's not much new here and Gross seems very guarded.

But one of the responses to the earlier Media Log entry "7 Mostly Mum on Gross" raises a serious ethical issue. One anonymous poster stated - as a fact -- that Gross had some poor work habits and then repeated a vague but disparaging rumor about him. That made me a bit queasy. In theory, the mystery poster could be an insider with real knowledge of Gross and valuable information. But he could also be someone with no legitimate info who is just out to pile on and bash.

If I were writing a story about Gross and had spoken to the source making the accusations, I'd a) have to use my judgment about the source's credibility and motives and b) then convince my editors to go along with such an anonymous attack on Gross. But here in the blogosphere, it's just unvetted information that may actually be on the money or just plain mean-sprited. There's no way of knowing. And there's no easy solution.

I'm certainly not going to put a prohibition on anonymous posts and I want to keep the flow of new and accurate information going. That's what a blog is for, and I've already gotten some crucial tips here. But here's a suggestion. If someone is going to offer information - purporting to be fact rather than opinion -- about someone or some subject, it'd be nice for that poster to describe, without revealing his or her identity, how they would come by such knowledge. In this case, the poster could have written "I once worked with Todd Gross" or "I have friends at WHDH" or something along those lines. I realize this is miles from foolproof and people can simply make up stuff. But for now, I can't think of anything better.

P.S. -- For the record, I ended up deleting the anonymous post about Gross under the standard that if we wouldn't publish something as a letter to the editor, we won't accept it as a post.
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