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Feb 25, 2010


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Joe Killian

Spoke with Shaw today and she confirmed nothing in the piece was incorrect.

I don't profess to know what actually happened years ago. I do profess to know what is alleged and to have spoken multiple times to the person who alleges it.

Of course if she and Alston hadn't disagreed they probably wouldn't have ended up in court in the first place. I offered to let Alston give his version of events if they differ but he didn't - and hasn't - called me back.


One can imagine a number of reasons why someone might legitimately use a pseudonym. As Joe points out, it is not as if he is hiding behind it -- we know who Joe Killian is and how to reach him. It's not as if he is using a pseudonym so that he can comment on blogs without anybody know he's really a weekly newspaper editor or anything like that. I wonder if Hammer asked Killian why he uses a pseudonym before launching into his smear campaign.


Quite hilarious for the Rhino to be questioning another publication's supposed misrepresentation of the facts. Obviously they haven't looked in the mirror lately. Seems to be another pathetic attempt to get people riled up about "mainstream media."


Completely unrelated to Hammer's silly barb, I've wondered if Joe's name has anything to do with the classic Czech movie, "Joseph Killian".


"It's not as if he is using a pseudonym so that he can comment on blogs without anybody know he's really a weekly newspaper editor or anything like that."

And therein lies the difference, right?

You know me, and you know how to reach me.

But somehow, you seem to think different standards apply to me.


But Bob Bubba, you ARE using a pseudonym so that you can comment on blogs without attaching those comments to xxx xxxxxxxx who works at xxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx and can be reached at xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxx.

Killian doesn't come with all those x's. Bubba does, big guy.


"Bubba does, big guy."

Then why have you changed your previous behavior?

Ian McDowell

I don't know if Alston's lips move when Hammer talks, but Hammer's don't, on account of him not having any.

Joe was certainly known as "Joe Killian" when he was at UNCG, at least when not being referred to as "G-Spot Joe" by feminist pornographer (and Tina Fey lookalike) Tristan Taormino. It's also the name on his facebook page and various other online profiles. It's not like it's some nefarious alias he adopted just for a newspaper byline.


I'm not sure what you are asking, Bubba, but if you want to erase this distinction between Killian and you, you will post your name, contact information and place of employment the way Joe does on every story he posts.


'I'm not sure what you are asking, Bubba, but if you want to erase this distinction between Killian and you, you will post your name, contact information and place of employment the way Joe does on every story he posts."

You know perfectly well what I'm talking about......your behavior on this and other blogs that placed me and my family in danger. That was an act which constituted a violation of your privacy policy at WE101, and was done with bad intent. We're talking about your behavior that I was forced to address in emails to the proprietors of this and one other blog, which resulted in one or more conversations/emails with the owner of this blog.

Killian is a public figure. I have not been a public figure in many years. My contact information is available at my blog. In good faith, I entrusted my real name to certain people, one of which was you. Unfortunately, you have chosen to abuse that privilege and thereby exposed me to the threat I received via mail last October.

What caused you to change your previous behavior?

Andrew Brod

When my wife married me, she changed her surname too. Should I be suspicious? Hammer has me worried.


Hammer has me bored.

Tony Wilkins

Season 5 - Episode 25: Barney brews up trouble when he attempts to solve an old assault case between Floyd the barber and grocer Charlie Foley.

Brian Clarey

So Killian is Barney, Floyd is Linda Shaw and the grocer is Skip Alston?
1:44 a.m.?
You been drinking, Wilkins?
Yeah, we thought that was kind of a strange story too. Attacking the messenger is all well and good, but this was a sourced story. And calling him out for his name was sort of... odd. It's not like he isn't accountable for what he writes.
Next week: Jeri Rowe is a boy who spells his name like a girl. Not to be trusted!


"your behavior on this and other blogs that placed me and my family in danger." -- Bob

You should call the police, assuming you are not full of crap.


"You should call the police, assuming you are not full of crap."

I did. A case number is assigned.

Dr. Mary Johnson

So I guess I'm not "full of crap" then, eh Roch? Has anyone else here had to shut their comments down?

It really is amazing to me. You put on such a good grown-up, responsible face for Google and the TV cameras. Citizen journalist. All about community. Law & order. Justice for all.

And then you hop into the ether act like this.


"I did. A case number is assigned." -- Bob [name withheld so we don't have to hear a grown man whine about his paranoid fantasies]

Oh, goody. Are you sure they know where to find me? Because, after all these months, I haven't heard a word from them.


What caused you to change your behavior?

Why did you change the privacy provisions at WE101?

Why do you assume the police case focuses on you specifically?

Jerry Bledsoe

In 27 years working for newspapers, I never heard of a reporter writing under a pseudonym.
Out of curiosity, I emailed Kelly McBride, Ethics Group Leader at the Poynter Institute, to ask if she was aware of any. I also asked about the ethics of allowing a reporter to write under a pseudonym without informing readers.
This is her response: “Back in the day, some feature columns like Miss Manners and Dear Abby, were pseudonyms. But in the present day I can't think of a good reason to use a pseudonym and I would most likely advise a newsroom against the practice.”

Ed Cone

Do you really see a breach of journalistic ethics here, Jerry? If so, what is it? Would you have the same problem if he legally changed his name?

The guy uses a family name for what he says are family reasons, and has done so for his professional life.

It's the name by which he's known to everyone. He's not hiding, and there's no indication that he's hiding something.

Dear Abby or Miss Manners are ludicrous comparisons.

sean coon

careful ed. jerry might just turn this into a 97 part feature story.

Andrew Brod

In 21 years working at universities, I've never heard of a professor teaching under a pseudonym. Therefore, it's unethical.

Steve Harrison

Jerry, you might find this interesting:

Over the years Orson Scott Card has used at least seven pseudonyms.

The names Frederick Bliss and P.Q. Gump were used by Card when he was asked to write an overview of Mormon playwrights "Mormon Shakespears: A Study of Contemporary Mormon Theatre" for Spring 1976 issue of Sunstone magazine. According to Card he used these pseudonyms because the article included a brief reference to himself and his play "Stone Tables".[9]

But of course, it's easily justifiable:

I have only used a pseudonym a few times. The first was when, back in the early 70s, I was asked to write an overview of contemporary Mormon playwrights for the second issue of a new journal, Sunstone. The trouble was that at the time I was one of the most prolific of those Mormon playwrights, and my play "Stone Tables" had been one of the more successful plays. Neither my sense of accuracy nor my vanity would allow me to leave my own work out of the picture, but there was no way to have an article by me that assessed my own work without having to make some apology for mentioning myself. The solution? With the consent of the editor, a pseudonym. I was careful only to point to myself as being very prolific, neither praising nor criticizing (though the very fact of mentioning Card was prolific without saying anything else could easily have been taken as a criticism). The article passed muster with the editor, and was used under the pseudonym of "by Frederick Bliss and P.Q. Gump."

Oh, okay. So using a pseudonym so you can comment about yourself without readers knowing is alright, but the same article reprinted with your real name is unethical:

And Sunstone magazine, in violation of all editorial ethics, republished my early-70s assessment of Mormon Theatre at that time, under my own name, without my consent or even a warning, and with no explanation for the way in which I referred to my own work in the essay - a vicious thing to do to someone who has contributed as much as I have to Sunstone over the years.
Andrew Brod

My dad's a retired journalism professor, and I just solicited his take on this:

"I don't see any particular problem there. Writers do that all the time, don't they? Didn't Mark Twain do it? Regardless of what Poynter says, I can't see what difference it makes it what name he uses, unless there's some nefarious reason for his name switch. He can call himself Throat-Warbler Mangrove for all it matters. In fact, that's what he should use next."

So there you go, Joe, finally a suggestion you can use.

Andrew Brod

I should have included the link for that.

Brian Clarey

Jerry: Really? Never heard of it?
I learned about one in the first college journalism class I ever took: Ida M. Tarbell, who wrote an incredible takedown of the Rockefellers in the History of Standard Oil in 1904 -- a little before your time I guess, but she needed to use a man's name in a lot of her early newspaper work.
"Nelly Bly" was the pseudonym of Elizabeth Seaman.
Also, "Adam Smith" was one of the "new journalists" of the 1970s who wrote about economics and whose name was assuredly not Adam Smith.
I can get more.
I would never write under a pseudonym because, let's face it, my name looks great in print. But I don't see how "Killian," as I've known him since he was a UNCG student, sacrifices any integrity here.


"In 21 years working at universities, I've never heard of a professor teaching under a pseudonym. Therefore, it's unethical."

Talk about allegorically putting words in someone's mouth!

Does a PhD allow you license to do that, or can we attribute your statement to some other self-conceit?

Brian Clarey

Also Poynter advises against running anonymous letters to the editor. Know anybody who does that?
Bubbanear: Are you actually arguing that Killian is hiding something by using a "fake" name? Come on, dude.

Steve Harrison

Wow. Leave it to a fiction writer to create living histories for his pseudonyms:

Frederick Bliss is a recent graduate of St. John's College at Annapolis with a degree in chemical engineering. His 3.98 grade-point average made him valedictorian. He is married and has a St. Bernard that eats more than his two children put together.

He is currently working in Alaska, which he says is not as cold as it is reputed to be.

P.Q. Gump is a graduate student in Family Relations at BYU, where she has been a student since 1967. She is a career student, she claims, and intends to keep registering until they put her on the faculty. She has one child by a long-expired marriage, and believes fervently in alimony. "It's better than a scholarship," she says, "because I don't have to keep my grades up."

Their collaboration was an accident, they claim, and they don't get along very well. "What critics do?" Gump remarked. According to Bliss, he had all the good ideas and Gump did all the writing. Gump agrees about the writing.

While Card (through his imaginary critics) does bash himself some, he also does a good job of promoting himself and his upcoming projects. Very strange, I must say.

Account Deleted

1. Is it a psuedonym? I don't think so.

2. I am less interested in Joe's name than I am in Hammer carrying water for Alston.

3. How can somebody who's publication is addicted to real estate and developer ads legitimately question the ethics of another reporter, especially while doing so in the name of an unethical elected official?

The head swims sometimes.


"Bubbanear: Are you actually arguing that Killian is hiding something by using a 'fake' name?"


How did you come up with that theory?

Brian Clarey

What, exactly, are you arguing? Or is this just argument for its own sake, because I can do that, too.


"What caused you to change your behavior?" -- Bubba

If by that you mean not using your real name here, it is because Ed asked me not to set off your hissy fits by doing so.

"Why did you change the privacy provisions at WE101?" -- Bubba

What change? The privacy policies at We101 govern information submitted to that site, information that does not include people's names. So if your insinuation is that I acquired your name from that site, instead of from your personal introduction to me at the John Locke sponsored conservative blogger conference several years ago, as was the case but which you may have forgotten, you are mistaken.

"Why do you assume the police case focuses on you specifically?" -- Bubba

Because when you said I had placed you and your family "in danger," I suggested you contact the police, to which you replied that you already had. I did not realize you meant you had contacted them about something that had nothing to do with me. So, I'll repeat, if I've put you and your family in danger, you better contact the police because to do otherwise would be highly irresponsible -- unless I haven't really put you or your family in danger at all.

Account Deleted

This has really got to stop. I too have grown real tired of it.


There are lots of "things" to be tired of in the local blogosphere. I too believe this "thing" qualifies. But what can you do other than not participate?


I'm with you, gents. But if someone were to write that some behavior of yours had been dangerous enough to cause him to file a police report, you might not want to let that stand without comment. You might want to take make sure the thread exposes the lie.

Andrew Brod

Actually, Roch, that's precisely what I'd let stand without comment.


In germane news, I ran into John Hammer this morning who told me that he spoke with Linda Shaw and Linda confirmed to him that Skip never touched her.


Apparently she also told Joe that and she was surprised to hear him claim otherwise.

Joe Killian

Obviously nothing I can say will really change anything.

I can't really be responsible for what sources tell other people or the conditions under which they have those conversations. I can only go with what's in my notes and the contents of conversations I have myself.

I don't see what motive I'd have for creating anything - much less anything so specific - from whole cloth. But I'll stand by my reporting for me and let others do the same.


"What, exactly, are you arguing? Or is this just argument for its own sake, because I can do that, too."

It's not about Killian. It's about events on this blog and on Guarino which facilitated a distinct threat directed toward me via email.

The GPD case number is 2009-1116-425, and further action is awaiting results of other proceedings.


Joe, I'm not attacking you. Just writing what I heard that is relevant to this thread. I assume Hammer will respond to this thread/issue on Thursday.

Ed Cone

Thanks for adding your comment of 6:41 PM, Sam, although your earlier comments were definitely part of the story.

This she said/she said thing is going to devolve into something murky.

The "pseudonym" thing, meanwhile, does not seem to have gained much traction, which I think speaks volumes.


ok Why is something from 2002 being brought up now?

Jerry Bledsoe

I sent you an email about this earlier this evening, explaining that I would link to it if I were not a Luddite. I'm sure you're doing what any normal person would be doing and enjoying your Friday evening. But I thought this was pertinent to this discussion, so I'm pasting it. This update now appears on the Rhino website.

"February 25, 2010
On Monday, Feb. 22, the News & Record incorrectly reported that during an argument on June 20, 2002, between Guilford County Commissioner Linda Shaw and Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, Alston had grabbed Shaw.

"On Feb. 25, I wrote a column correcting the error made by News & Record reporter Joe Wilbur, who writes under the alias Joe Killian.

"Wilbur is standing by his story, so I did some more checking to make sure I had not missed something.

"On Friday, Feb. 26, Shaw confirmed that in her argument with Alston on June 20, 2002, Alston never touched her and that when a Joe Wilbur from the News & Record called recently to check out a story he had written reporting that Alston had grabbed Shaw, she told him that Alston never grabbed her.

"Shaw said, "Skip never grabbed me and I told Joe that." She said that Wilbur told her that he had gotten the information for the story from court records and had not been able to get in touch with Alston to hear his version.

'Shaw said she did not know what was in the court records but that Alston did not grab her and that she never made an allegation that he did.

"City Councilmember Trudy Wade, who was a Guilford County Commissioner in June 2002, said she was standing between Shaw and Alston when Shaw threw the water. Wade said, "He never grabbed her. He wasn't close enough to touch Linda. I was basically standing between them and the water went right over my shoulder and hit Skip in the face."

"Wade added, "He never touched Linda. I was an eyewitness and had to fill out an affidavit." Wade said that her affidavit doesn't say anything about Alston touching Shaw because that didn't happen. Wade could not have more adamant about the fact that Alston never touched Shaw.

'City Councilmember Mary Rakestraw, who was a Guilford County Commissioner at that time, said she remembered getting off the elevator in the Old Guilford County Court House after the meeting and seeing Alston standing there with water all over his face. She said she never heard any allegation that Alston had touched Shaw, but that she was told Shaw had thrown the contents of a cup of water in Alston's face.

"I was also there and saw Alston with water all over his face, but did not see the incident itself. No one said anything about Alston touching Shaw. The question people were asking was what had caused Shaw to snap and throw water at Alston."

This explains the comment that Joe posted at 5:59 because he had again called Linda Shaw at that time. John said that he spoke with Linda after that, and she told him that she told Joe that she never said that Skip grabbed her. John said she also told him that Joe began reading to her from notes and asked if that was accurate She told him that nothing "else" was inaccurate. Joe must have left that word out of his first comment here.

Calling the chairman of the board of commissioners and a respected long-time member liars, should make is not an advisable way to make a reporter's life easier while covering the board. John said Linda told him that she never would speak to Joe again unless it was recorded.

If the N&R had a real editor,he would call all of these people and get the story himself. Then he would call in Killian and make him prove that what he wrote was accurate. If Killian couldn't produce the evidence, he would fire him. That was what used to happen at the N&R, but of course it will never happen in this case.

Steve Collins

Either Guilford County Commissioner Linda Shaw is liar or John Hammer is. Or maybe both of them. In any case, Joe Killian isn't.


"If Killian couldn't produce the evidence, he would fire him." -- Jerry

Really? We all make mistakes. Is that the standard that should be applied? Even at the Rhinoceros Times?
"After receiving the letter and doing further research we have found that is incorrect. We now believe that James did not drive straight to Pettiford's car because James arrived in the parking lot first." -- Rhinoceros Times, 11/22/07


"'In your [Bledsoe's] article you stated that the Rev. Mazie Ferguson and I founded the Pulpit Forum,' Johnson wrote. 'That statement is false. The Pulpit Forum was formed in the early1960s as a reaction to the newly formed interracial ministers’ alliance, a merging of black and white Christian ministerial groups…. I attended a few Pulpit Forum meetings from 1986 to 1989 with Rev. [Otis] Hairston, but I did not attend the meetings regularly until after I graduated from seminary and returned to Greensboro as assistant to Pastor Hairston at Shiloh Baptist Church. The Forum had been in existence for over twenty years by that time.'" -- Yes! Weekly, 7/16/2008

I don't think anybody expects journalists to be fired when they make a mistake. Repeated or intentional misstatements, sure; but there is no indication, even if Joe had some incorrect information in his notes, or misremembered something, that his information was intentionally wrong or that he has a history of being sloppy.


It's amusing to me the things that writers and bloggers consider important enough to go into such detail to throw dirt in each others faces over, such as who said what, first, among themselves, about topics nobody else much cares about, such as an arm grab and a glass of water thrown in someone's face 9 years ago, and who should get credit for it.

Another thing I've learned is this pseudonym thing is a VERY BIG deal, for most everyone, if only selectively, as it pertains to certain people, under certain circumstances, to score a certain point. I’ve seen it variously proclaimed as an indicator of someone’s character, integrity or courage, depending on who's defining it, and in regards to whom.

Ed Cone

If I was Joe's editor, I'd check the court record Shaw said Joe said he used, if that's what he actually told her, and/or any other documents he used, and publish them online.

I would ask Joe for his notes, and review them for consistency.

If I found that Joe made stuff up, I'd fire him. If I found he made an error of commission, I'd discipline him appropriately. If I found that he had reported in good faith, I'd stand by him.

And all the while I would wonder: Why is Jerry so intent on destroying this young man?

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