My ears never burned, my nose never itched.

Boy, the one week I don’t grab the City Paper from the newsstand and Chris Potter writes this:

This morning, for example, I opened up my Post-Gazette to the Forum section’s “Cutting Edge” feature. Cutting Edge offers a weekly wrap-up of the posts from the wonderfully diverse world of Pittsburgh blogging. But I wasn’t exactly surprised to see, yet again, an excerpt from a post by the Burgh Blog‘s ubiquitious “PittGirl” — who’s been mentioned in the weekly column three times the last month, and who has been the subject of a P-G profile.

PittGirl is a fun read, and while we here at CP prefer our prose to be jingoistic and shrill — it’s an old lefty tradition — I certainly don’t begrudge her success. If anything, I hope she’s billing the P-G for providing them with so much copy. Maybe there’s a PG/KDKA-style “media partnership” in the offing. The paper’s Bill Toland was just featured on her site … proving yet again that the “Burghosphere” is just like the Burgh itself: Everybody seems to know everybody else.

Even if PittGirl doesn’t get paid, I can’t complain. City Paper has been running a “best of the blogs” feature for awhile, as has the Tribune-Review. So while I might question just how cutting-edge “Cutting Edge” really is, I certainly couldn’t fault its treatment of contributors.

My thoughts:

1. Chris Potter!  Are you saying I am NOT shrill?!  How dare you?  I can be very shrill!

2.  I have never made one cent off of this blog or anything related to this blog.  Not. One. Cent.  In fact, I have never been paid one dime for my writing in my life.  Not. One. Dime.

What the hell’s wrong with me?

3.  Although I might be mistaken, I’m pretty sure Carbolic and 2 Political Junkies have been featured just as much, if not more than this blog in The Cutting Edge column.

4.   Outside of a few emails, I don’t know Bill Toland and he doesn’t know me.

Then:

The P-G‘s obsessive attention to PittGirl, for example, comes across not as an effort to introduce newspaper readers to her blog … but as an attempt to introduce her blog’s readers to the newspaper.

Heh.  “Obsessive attention.”  Right, the PG is obsessed with me like David Conrad is obsessed with me.  Not even a little bit.

Then Bram commented at the bottom of the article:

I will say that The Burgh Blog is the most consistent, the most fullsome and fair-voiced, and the most broadly enjoyable blog I know.

Aw.  Too kind.

So to sum up:

I have no control, agreement, contact with the PG other than my occasional emails with some staffers.  I also have occasional email conversations with staffers at the Trib, WPXI, WTAE, and KDKA.  I’m a fair news junkie.  If someone from the City Paper would like to be my email buddy, feel free to contact me and tell me in specific detail how awesome I am.  OMG, I’m just kidding.

And because this blog is not my job or my life, I absolutely do not care if the PG or any news outlet decides to reprint portions of my stuff.  Maybe someday if they’re just running entire blog posts verbatim on a daily basis, I’ll demand payment.

In the form of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  Or Sonic Gift cards.

Or diamonds.





26 Comments

  1. Maria in Pgh
    March 28, 2008 9:40 am

    On the other hand, we at 2 Political Junkies regularly bribe the mainstream media to get attention because we’re nothing if not publicity whores, or so claims John McIntire.*

    *We’re name droppers too!



  2. Christina
    March 28, 2008 10:18 am

    I like that City Paper feels they are so above blogging and are heads above all other media in Pittsburgh. Like, I think they believe they’re some alternative paper made by some kid in his basement writing zines and stealing money from his parents for postage.

    Like, “We prefer not to use the word blog, because to use the word blog would be to embrace the term. We will only refer to our online-journal type articles as a web log. We will not abbreviate!”

    So unnecessarily pretentious.



  3. KGC
    March 28, 2008 10:27 am

    PittGirl, you rock! /obvious suck-up

    Many of the other Pittsburgh blogs are lefty, liberal.. oops, they prefer “progressive” (oh, whatever).. or downright socialist.



  4. Mrs Pitsberger
    March 28, 2008 10:32 am

    I have it on good authority that Chris Potter is an a-hole and he did nothing to help his case by talking shit on my favorite blogger. Well, besides myself, I mean.
    Don’t take it personally, PG. We don’t even care if you’re making money as long as you keep making us laugh!



  5. PittGirl
    March 28, 2008 10:38 am

    Don’t worry. I’m not taking it personally at all. I find the whole thing quite humorous. :D



  6. Ms. Monongahela
    March 28, 2008 11:02 am

    Yeah, I hear he’s not the only a-hole columnist at CP. That Frances Monahan is quite a b$%@, which I also have on good authority. And don’t even get me started on McIntire …



  7. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    March 28, 2008 12:01 pm

    He’s just jealous that your blog is more popular that his alternative weekly that most people pick up so they know what’s going on and who’s playing where on the weekends.



  8. PghLesbian
    March 28, 2008 1:10 pm

    The problem with the City Paper is that they don’t have enough lesbians working for them. Frances M. doesn’t count even though she has a lesbian friend and at least three lesbian acquaintances, plus that one college experience. Lesbians = progressive. Sheesh, Potter. Next thing you know you’ll be printing interviews with anonymous sources whose identity you won’t verify. What next, man?



  9. Zsa
    March 28, 2008 2:15 pm

    Is this the same Chris Potter that lifts many of his column ideas from a certain “punk rock” message board?

    Yep. That’s what I thought.



  10. John
    March 28, 2008 2:19 pm

    Wait. The City Paper won’t use the world “blog”? WTF? If that weren’t so very lame, it might be funny.



  11. TheTruth
    March 28, 2008 2:35 pm

    Lemmings.



  12. Brian
    March 28, 2008 2:38 pm

    The pretentiousness and we’re-so-artsy-it-hurts-even-though-NYC-did-this-stuff-2-years-ago is about at my throat, and it’s taking all my will to keep it down. Pittsburgh seems like the last place in the world to have something this pat-on-the-back, self-congratulatory, look-at-our-torn-70s-sweaters stuck up, but then again, I guess the people I laugh at when I drive through town each weekend probably are sharpering their old typewriters (surely they’re too cool for computers or anything modern, unless it’s wickedly, nostalgically fashionable) and getting a response ready to all of these comments right now. My dog pees on the City Paper.



  13. BBM
    March 28, 2008 2:43 pm

    I have to admit that I have wondered why you don’t throw up a couple of ads so that you can at least recoup your costs. Hosting and domains don’t come free and I see no reason why you should spend money just so I can enjoy you.

    But if you want to keep paying to make me laugh, so be it!



  14. JP
    March 28, 2008 2:56 pm

    City Paper is that the one with all the stripper and phone sex ads in the back?



  15. Ms. Monongahela
    March 28, 2008 3:26 pm

    I heard it was actually two or three experiences, PghLesbian.

    Yeah, can you imagine. One of those pretentious City Paper columnists actually calling their web log a BLOG? Who the hell do those clowns think they are?

    What a bunch of self-important posers.I heard that Frances M. takes herself so seriously she once pricked her finger so she could write her column with her own blood — using the quill of a pigeon.



  16. Chris Potter
    March 28, 2008 3:53 pm

    Wait. The City Paper won’t use the world “blog”? WTF? If that weren’t so very lame, it might be funny.

    Actually, there’s no truth to that at all. I’d suggest you check out our site for yourself and see, but there’s really no need for you to reduce yourself to that. Take another look at the excerpt PittGirl posted above — it actually uses the word “blogs.”

    In fact, the article PittGirl posted isn’t an article at all: It’s from a blog I operate on the site. I ahve to say, it’s sort of dizzying to have people denounce a blog post I wrote … and then say “City Paper feels they are so above blogging.”

    If I felt that way, none of us would be having this conversation at all.

    In fact, a lot of this criticism doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean, how is it “talking shit” on anyone to say their blog is a “fun read”?

    The original post is here:

    http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A43889

    just in case people want to read the blog post for themselves, rather than rely on PittGirl’s summary — or the summaries of that summary which appear in the comments. Most of the post isn’t really even about PittGirl at all.

    9.Zsa said …

    Is this the same Chris Potter that lifts many of his column ideas from a certain “punk rock” message board?

    Hahahaha. How brave, to accuse somebody of plagiarism from the cozy confines of anonymity. I actually WAS once accused by a blogger of lifting a column idea from a message board. She had the courage to identify herself, and if you e-mail me (cpotter@steelcitymedia.com) I’d be happy to point you to her so you can talk it over with her yourself. The material in question was something that I myself had posted there. If you can point me to some place where I plagiarized anyone other than myself, I’d be much obliged.

    — Chris Potter



  17. Chris Potter
    March 28, 2008 4:28 pm

    In fact, here’s the original post, in its entirety. People can make up their own minds whether they agree or not, but at least they’ll actually know what I said.

    I only hope that six months from now, I don’t get accused of ripping off Burgh Blog for a column idea:

    It seems crazy now, but as recently as a few months ago, local bloggers I knew would sometimes mutter darkly about the all-powerful MSM — those consent-manufacturing media gatekeepers who, the bloggers worried, were hell-bent on suppressing the voice of the digitized masses.

    Hasn’t quite worked out that way, has it?

    This morning, for example, I opened up my Post-Gazette to the Forum section’s “Cutting Edge” feature. Cutting Edge offers a weekly wrap-up of the posts from the wonderfully diverse world of Pittsburgh blogging. But I wasn’t exactly surprised to see, yet again, an excerpt from a post by the Burgh Blog’s ubiquitious “PittGirl” — who’s been mentioned in the weekly column three times the last month, and who has been the subject of a P-G profile.

    PittGirl is a fun read, and while we here at CP prefer our prose to be jingoistic and shrill — it’s an old lefty tradition — I certainly don’t begrudge her success. If anything, I hope she’s billing the P-G for providing them with so much copy. Maybe there’s a PG/KDKA-style “media partnership” in the offing. The paper’s Bill Toland was just featured on her site … proving yet again that the “Burghosphere” is just like the Burgh itself: Everybody seems to know everybody else.

    Even if PittGirl doesn’t get paid, I can’t complain. City Paper has been running a “best of the blogs” feature for awhile, as has the Tribune-Review. So while I might question just how cutting-edge “Cutting Edge” really is, I certainly couldn’t fault its treatment of contributors.

    But the P-G has now taken this whole open-source journalism thing a step further. The paper recently announced a new feature called “Voxpop.” When last I checked, that was the name of a City Paper column, but apparently it is NOW a paradigm-shifting technology that will allow you, the citizen, to furnish election coverage this year!

    Voxpop, we’re told, is a cellphone-based effort “to enlist large numbers of citizens in providing news, observations and opinions about the important Pennsylvania presidential primary.” You can provide audio of campaign events or text-message your thoughts about the campaign, and the P-G will put post ’em online! At no expense to its publishers! Thanks, Post-Gazette! Back in the old days, if I had observations I wanted to share with a newspaper, I’d just … write a letter to the editor. But this is much better because it’s, um, on the Web! Where no one will see it!

    Do I sound cynical about what the P-G calls “a bold step in providing a forum for our readers and Web visitors”? I guess, but since “voxpop” appears to have recruited a whopping eight contributors in its first couple weeks, perhaps I’m not the only one. And some of the Mr.-Smith-buys-an-iPhone rhetoric sounds a little shopworn when you read the fine print. The Voxpop guidelines note that “[a]ny content you provide becomes the property of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which has sole discretion over its use, which could include use in advertisements for the newspaper [or] Web site.” Nothing there about getting paid, so I guess your reward is that of any good citizen: knowing your democratic participation has enriched your community … and maybe sold a few newspaper subscriptions.

    Some time ago, the Pittsburgh Women’s Blogging Society asked whether bloggers were being exploited by the commercial media. I took part in that debate at the time, and I won’t reprise it here except to say I think the answer is different for different bloggers. And anyway, half the time a print publication tries to reach out to online readers, I end up feeling sorry not for exploited bloggers, but for the newspaper itself.

    I probably don’t have much right to make fun of the P-G’s online strategy. They have resources superior to CP’s, and they’ve used them much more aggressively online. Your CP may be the last paper in the free world (and probably much of the not-so-free world) to add blogs to its Web site.

    But still, the daily’s embrace of new media has been awkward at best. Until recently, it broadcast a wince-inducing online-video version of the day’s headlines, and when Myron Cope died, its site offered a musical homage set to the tune of U2’s “Pride.” (“In the na-a-a-a-a-a-a-me of Cope / One more in the name of Cope.”)

    More tellingly, the paper can’t seem to let go of its need to be in control. The P-G site has blogs, sure, but you can’t post comments on them — let alone on the stories themselves. The paper will let citizens furnish content, but they must abandon their rights to it. And yet one still detects an almost plaintive desire to be loved in their shout-outs to the Burghosphere. The P-G’s obsessive attention to PittGirl, for example, comes across not as an effort to introduce newspaper readers to her blog … but as an attempt to introduce her blog’s readers to the newspaper.

    And hey, I sympathize — almost enough to hope this blog post helps sign up more voxpoppers than the P-G’s print ads have done. (Note to P-G: The people who are going to file reports by cell phone probably ain’t reading your print edition.) Anyone in the fishwrap business can’t help but worry about where the next generation of readers are coming from, and the long-term economic trends of the business. How are we going to pay our writers a decent wage as the 21st century rolls on?

    So in the name of economic justice, I’m happy to announce that, effective today, if you capture an election-year scoop on your cell phone, City Paper will be happy to publish it on our Web site instead. And if we use it, we’ll pay you TWICE what the P-G is offering.



  18. PghLesbian
    March 28, 2008 4:54 pm

    Woah, Ms. Mon. Two experiences is “experimenting.” Three is when you get your toaster oven. Although, lesbians like pigeons so that could be a problem. We like geese, too, so Danny O. is a problem. Drat. So that means we have to claim either Potter or they guy who stole my idea for the greenie column as the official CP lesbian.

    Why must everything be so difficult with you trendy “get paid to write” types? Why don’t you just rub our noses in the fact that you are *supposed* to blog on company time? As soon as I get my blog credentials from Char, I’m gonna … do something press like that involves a live remote and man crushing on Tony Norman.

    As for theft, well … let’s just say that a certain Mr. Potter who didn’t arrive 75 minutes early for a city council hearing to nab an electrical outlet was peeking over a certain lesbians shoulder for notes. That’s all I’m saying. Huh.



  19. Gunn Lino
    March 28, 2008 8:12 pm

    WOO. A whole bunch of really touchy people here. I thought ‘Burgh people were hard ass union types, angry at mill closings and Kroger leaving. Now a bunch of sensitive progressive types. Taking offense at real or imagined slights, and getting all wordy and shit.
    Man, there goes the neighorhood.



  20. John
    March 29, 2008 10:58 am

    Can’t we all just get along? ;)



  21. Still A Fan
    March 29, 2008 8:34 pm

    well, if the intent was to get himself embedded in a discussion here….mission accomplished.



  22. dr satbir bhullar
    March 30, 2008 12:49 am

    A “fun read” is a fitting compliment for The Burgh Blog. Let’s be honest. It’s not Tunesmith and Anthony.



  23. Ms. Monongahela
    March 30, 2008 8:24 am

    Gunn Lino wrote: “Man, there goes the neighborhood.”

    Don’t you see? This is exactly what makes the neighborhood — and The Burgh Blog — an interesting
    and popular place. Because we’re all here, interacting with each other.



  24. xena
    March 31, 2008 12:50 am

    As usual, I am a day late and more than a dollar short. But as a trained professional reader, PittGirl is a better writer than most of the people who get paid to write in this town.



  25. Zsa
    April 1, 2008 12:53 pm

    Mr Potter: I didn’t accuse you of plagiarism…I said you were lifting your ideas from there. 2 different things IMO. I’m pretty much just saying you’re not very original.

    But if you want to defend yourself against the plagiarism I never accused you of (the PghLesbian upthread is another matter) well then, umm, rock out with your cock out?



  26. PghLesbian
    April 1, 2008 9:26 pm

    That’s right, Zsa. Because nothing defends one against a lesbian accusation like rocking out with your cock out. I’m already fleeing the room …