Don't Blog So Close to Me

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By Robert MacMillan
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 20, 2005; 8:54 AM

There are millions of blogs out there, so many that conventional wisdom says most attract few readers at best.

So it's easy to understand why some bloggers provide commentary and observations that might raise eyebrows at the dinner table, the water cooler -- or the human resources department.

After reading about Michael Gee and a certain "hot," sloe-eyed Sabra, I recommend erring on the side of caution before you hit submit on that blog posting.

Gee, a 17-year-veteran of the Boston Herald who left the paper in the spring, was fired this month from a part-time journalism school position at Boston University after sharing inappropriate thoughts about a student on a blog.

"'Of my six students, one (the smartest, wouldn't you know it?) is incredibly hot,'" Gee wrote, according to the Associated Press reported . "Gee was fired July 13, according to Bob Zelnick, chairman of BU's journalism department. Zelnick said the posting violated the trust essential to the student-teacher relationship. Students 'have to be confident their work will judged impartially' and not on the basis of their looks, he said."

Gee posted his comments on July 5th on the sportsjournalists.com blog. The blog's administrators later removed Gee's posting. But just because his words are gone doesn't mean they haven't been preserved elsewhere... like right here in this column, and over at Boston Sports Media, where blogger David Scott posted them on July 15 so the rest of us could wonder at them: "Gee, Gone. Again": "Today was my first day teaching course 308/722 at the Boston University Dept. of Jounralis (sic). There are six students, most of whom are probably smarter than me, but they DON'T READ THE PAPER!!! Not the Globe, Times, Herald or Wall Street Journal. I can shame them into reading, I guess, but why are they taking the course if they don't like to read. But I digress. Now here's the nub of my issue. Of my six students, one (the smartest, wouldn't you know it?) is incredibly hot. If you've ever been to Israel, she's got the sloe eyes and bitchin' bod of the true Sabra. It was all I could do to remember the other five students. I sense danger, Will Robinson."

Gee's senses were right on. If only he had heeded them.

Scott asked BU about Gee's remarks on July 12th before writing about them. Here's his commentary: "What on earth was Gee thinking, when he made these inappropriate comments? Further, what editor would hire a guy who publicly admits to drooling over his student? Even more perplexing was Gee's response after at least one SJ poster gave this friendly advice: 'Congrats on the gig and the proximity to a hottie, but be careful. Not with her, but with this site. She or your bosses could Google your name and the university at any point and find this thread. ' Even that lucid warning didn't seem to have an effect on Gee's libido or his proud postings: 'Dear Folks: I suppose I should be flattered that many of you think this gorgeous woman who's half my age would consider having sex with me. Which, if I have any news instincts, she won't. My problem is losing my focus when I meet her to-die-for eyes.'"

Holy mackerel! That's some hot journalism action! And boy, does it spread. Gee's burying the lede instead kicked it into high gear in the blogosphere.

He can probably forget freelance opportunities at Ms. magazine where the comments on his actions are less than complimentary.

Editor & Publisher's Joe Strupp made sure that most hiring types at prominent publications will know who Gee is as soon as they receive his e-mail queries. More interesting is Gee's lemons-into-lemonade attitude in the E&P article: "Although Gee declined to comment on the Web posting, he said his layoff included a good severance package, amounting to about 15 months of salary. He also said he was writing freelance articles for the Village Voice, and had been to Thursday night's New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game in Boston for the Voice."

We'll see how long the Voice assignments last. Maybe they can try some kinky postmodern Web special and send him out on a singles prowl where he can play good-cop-bad-cop with Press Notes scribe and Pulitzer Prize winner Sydney Schanberg.


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