Criticisms of me

A person who I think I once moderated for violating our discussion guidelines has been trying to attach comments to my blog posts about Representative Journalism, criticizing me for my behavior and mistakes, and asserting that my participation in the RepJ project will be detrimental.

I’ve not allowed these new comments to be posted because I can’t verify who the person is. They don’t answer my email, in which I offer to talk to them by phone or meet in person. But I thought I’d post the criticisms here because there are elements of truth to them that others might be concerned about and it might help to have my responses all in one place.

Certainly Griff was upfront about the controversial and derogatory LG posts that he has had to remove? Like these two right here?

The URL/link they provided doesn’t work. I’m assuming they’re referring to comments that they made that I removed for violating our guidelines, but I’m not sure.

Also he told you about told [sic] the meetings with the Nfld News where they told him to stop plagarizing [sic] them or face lawsuit? Go ahead and call the Nfld News to confirm what i’ve said about their meetings with him. Plagarism? Is that what this “Representative Journalism” is all about? Or just those that you support?

When I was with NCO/, I did get a letter from then Northfield News Publisher Renee Huckle, asking me to stop linking to their articles that required a paid subscription to access. I wasn’t plagiarizing these articles but linking to them for online discussion purposes, like I do now.  I was also copying/pasting news headlines and teaser paragraphs from their website, and then linking to their news page as a way to encourage people to go to their site to read the full articles. But I was wrong not to ask their permission to do either of these, and of course, I stopped immediately.

About the times Griff has been forced to redact completely copied articels [sic] from because he copied them?

They’re referring to this blog post where I was trying to promote a youth-made video that Adam Gurno blogged about on I linked to Adam’s post but I didn’t get his permission to replicate the video in my post. I removed it and apologized to Adam both in an update to the blog post and in an attached comment.

About his lawsuits within the city?

I’m not suing anybody so I’m assuming he means Mendota Homes suing my wife and me for not closing on a condo at The Crossing.

I’m happy to answer questions and respond to any other criticisms from anyone related to what I do/have done here on Locally Grown.


  1. Jerry Bilek said:

    I can’t think of anything to criticize, but much to praise. Griff, you set the standard for what a blog can achieve.

    March 16, 2008
  2. Two bad things that go worse together: Bitterness and Poor Writing.

    The curse of the internet.

    I’m shocked that the mystery writer missed your painfully obvious flaw: Not enough coverage of Brendon Etter-related events.

    Is that representative journalism? It certainly doesn’t represent me! Is that what we want in our community?! I want a reporter assigned to cover the stories that only interest me…

    Like: What’s in Brendon’s fridge? Do all Brendon’s socks have holes in them? People who’ve called Brendon today, and why he’s not going to bother to get back to them.

    But, hey, you keep dabbling in the ho-hum, Griff, if that’s what Reps your J.

    March 17, 2008
  3. Ray Cox said:

    No matter how hard we try, we can’t create a perfect world. But with open dialog and discussion I think it will be a better world.
    I personally want to thank Griff for all the work he has done to get the electronic world up and running in Northfield. He helped me get going in 2002 with a blog that proved very valuable and useful as I worked on state issues.
    Griff, and all of us, have watched the electronic world move and shift. The comment about plagarizing things from the Northfield News shows how far things have come. Initially the News seemed to resist the electronic world, requiring a password to access the site. It was at that time that they didn’t want active links to their articles. Now they have relaxed their site and much of the News content is available electronically.
    Hopefully the Representative Journalism project will continue to advance the use of the electronic world in a positive, meaningful manner.

    March 17, 2008
  4. Ross Currier said:

    Griff –

    Brendon has a point…I mean, what IS in his fridge?

    – Ross

    March 17, 2008
  5. Rob Hardy said:

    I agree with the comments above, but I do think that, as more and more news and information becomes available online, and the temptation to cut-and-paste is more easily gratified, there needs to be more thought about issues of plagiarism, copyright, and attribution (and the rights of “intellectual property” on the internet in general). As you point out in your post above, you’ve responded quickly to correct your occasional lapses. It would be good, as part of a Representative Journalism project, to have some discussion of these ethical issues.

    March 17, 2008
  6. William Siemers said:

    I think the use of the unnecessary and demeaning ‘sic'(s) in the obviously cut and pasted quotes violates your ‘guidelines’.

    Otherwise, I love you guys.

    March 17, 2008
  7. Julie Bixby said:

    I admire that you are quick to admit mistakes and correct them. Not that I know of any such time that you made a mistake!
    (This “unknown” person is, IMO, a coward.)
    Keep up the good work and thanks to the 3 of you ( I mean Griff, Tracy and Ross, not Griff’s 3 personalities!) for allowing us to comment.

    March 17, 2008
  8. Brendon, have you considered that Twitter thing, so we could know when you were at your refrigerator?
    Griff, keep up the good work! The foundation grant is more than enough affirmation that you and LoGroNo are on the right track to wherever it is you are going!

    March 17, 2008
  9. Holly Cairns said:

    The nerve of some people. The grinch relocated to Northfield.

    The News might be glad for any tidbits that show up on Locallygrownnorthfield, IMHO. That’s free advertising, and I remember to pick up a copy of the News at the grocery store. They might be glad for the interconnectivity, and even any criticism. It all brings them into my picture.

    So did Griff copy any articles and not give credit to the source? I’d find that surprising. From what I’ve seen here, Griff cites the source, usually as a link, and that in turn brings traffic to the source. Further, Griff took out the articles when asked to do so.

    The blogs I read sometimes have whole, copied articles. It’s nice to see what someone is talking about.

    Oh, and I’ll have to remove that video I captured from Locallygrownnorthfield and put on my blog, or can I keep it there, Locallygrownnorthfield? I’m testing a new widget and vodpod. I’ll get to to your response right after lunch.

    March 17, 2008
  10. Holly Cairns said:

    That said (comment #9) I tell my blogging clients not to take more than 10% of an article (etc) unless they ask. I tell them they need permission to use other people’s stuff, and when I post things other people’s things on my client’s blog, I even ask the author if they like how it looks, etc…

    Just thowing that in there to cover myself. It’s a cruel world, isn’t it.

    While we’re mentioning Adam, I tried to post a comment on his blog the other day and couldn’t get past his repcapcha. I wanted to let him know that my Hannah helped his daughter’s group for the Hiliner review! Hannah had fun with those kinders.

    March 17, 2008
  11. John George said:

    Good grief! Or should I say good Griff!? Its not like you are running for some political office, here.

    Brendon- Probably better to have holes in your socks than holes in your writing.

    Griff- Honestly, I find it most honorable to make a mistake trying something and asking forgiveness if the person did it wrong, rather than trying to not make any mistakes. It reminds me of a story my high school mechanical drawing teacher told about his very strict father. When he and his siblings got new pencils, the father would cut the eraser tips off them and throw them into the wood stove. He told the kids, then, “Don’t make any mistakes!” His point was that our drawing supplies included an eraser. If we drew a wrong line, he said, erase it and do it over. I don’t know if the story was true or not, but it made a good point.

    March 17, 2008
  12. Jane Moline said:

    I agree with everything except about Brendon’s frig and socks, which, I think, might better be left as mysteries.

    March 17, 2008
  13. Paul Fried said:

    Except for hinting that you might restrict the use of the phrase, “You ignorant slut,” you’ve been pretty good at admitting your mistakes, Griff, and at giving folks room to express themselves. It’s easy to complain about the bartender, but the customers can always visit a different bar.

    March 17, 2008
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Hmm. I don’t remember moderating comments from those two posts, Sean.

    March 18, 2008
  15. I don’t think the commenter was referring to comments. I think he was referring to the posts themselves, which he seems to be under the impression were removed or altered.

    March 18, 2008
  16. Christine Bernier said:

    I agree with needing more coverage of Brendon! Everyone wants to know!

    As for the rest, it sounds like a bunch of sour grapes. No doubt from someone who feels threatened by the coverage on LocallyGrown since it is so comprehensive.

    Wouldn’t linking to the other sites also help promote those sites even more? Personally, I’ve always thought Griff was very forthright about potential mistakes. After all, we all make them, don’t we?

    March 19, 2008
  17. Re VOC faux news post. As I recall, Griff did not “have to remove” the post, but did alter it because he had used real names in quotations (mine and another resident of VOC) and we were not comfortable having our photos with faux comments we had not made. My attributed comment in the original post was that now the quality of men’s clothing would improve at VOC. It was funny, but I figured if anyone googled my name and came upon it, they might not catch on it was faux or might assume I had said it, as a joke or otherwise. Griff was sensitive to this and to the other resident’s concern and cut the posting down.

    I much prefer the present faux news policy of making up names close to local names (Dr. Eviscerate for Dr. Visty is one of my favorites) so googling won’t hit on real names (or I suggest getting permission to use real names from people who don’t care if they are linked to naked sushi and such).

    Will the new representative journalist be contributing faux news? That might really become confusing! But I am sure he or she could not match Griff’s fertile imagination.

    March 19, 2008
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Ahh, you’re so right, Susan. I’d totally forgotten about that. Thanks much for whacking me upside the head… and helping to shape the future of the faux on LoGroNo!

    March 19, 2008

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