Hyperlocal news about Melbourne's first suburb: Fitzroy 3065

an anonymous coward


On Friday I arrived at work to find I was again the victim of an attempted smear campaign. An email had been sent by an anonymous coward with the user name ‘assagne league’ (sic) @ yahoo to a number of staff at my company. It stated:

Are your employees using [employer] computers, internet & work time to smear Fairfax journo’s?
Fairfax publish The Age and SMH.
Comments being published on worktime? Does this mean that you agree that Amy Edwards is a thief?

Amy Edwards is the author of the Newcastle Herald and Age article that I proved contained content plagiarised from Facebook. I therefore did not slander anyone. Of course my employer does not endorse what I do in my own time. They have no association with Fitzroyalty.

The anonymous coward who wrote the email obviously knows who I work for, and had access to a long, though badly out of date, list of staff email addresses. Many of the names on the list no longer work at the company. A media company that accepts advertising from another company, for example, would have these contacts. Was the email written by someone at Fairfax, perhaps Edwards herself?

Or perhaps it was someone who has engaged in this behaviour before? There is a great similarity between this circumstance and a previous example of this behaviour whereby John Flower, the director of the Melbourne PR company HHME, complained about me in person to the CEO of my company shortly after my appointment.

His complaint was about a story I had written exposing his company for breaching the Spam Act and the Privacy Act in sending spam emails to me without my consent and after I expressly asked them to stop. I then published a following story about his cowardly and unethical behaviour in connecting a personal dispute to my employment. It is possible that this email is from Flower in revenge for his public humiliation and a further attempt to discredit me.

If someone wants to respond to something I have written they should contact me, not my employer, from an identifiable account and explain who they are and what they want. This vendetta is aimed at me as an individual, and it has nothing to do with my employer. It is therefore highly inappropriate for them to contact my employer, not least because it is a waste of their time.

These people fail to acknowledge a fundamental principle: who I am in my personal life and who I am at work are two different things. At home I manage my own life; at work I behave according to company principles.

These attempts to smear me have not succeeded. My employer understands that what I do in my own time is my own business. Like many modern employers, my company has a common sense policy about the use of company resources for personal reasons. My use is minimal and consistent with company policies.

My employer is aware that in my personal life I am a high profile Melbourne blogger and social media contributor. It is my expertise in this area that won me my current role.

It is also aware that I carefully manage my online presence to ensure that I keep my personal and work lives as separate as possible, such as not stating in Fitzroyalty who my employer is. People like John Flower and this anonymous coward do not possess, or even understand, these professional and ethical values.

The fundamental difference between us is that I am proud to put my name to my opinions. This anonymous coward does not have the confidence or authenticity to do that. They are pathetic.


  1. I am shocked and appalled at this behaviour. It’s absolutely disgraceful. Whatever issues I may have with your opinions on certain matters I am able to differentiate between an online argument and this type of over-the-top vendetta. I’m glad your employer is understanding. I also have all the more respect for you in the light of how you deal with these attacks.

    But seriously. What a bunch of idiots! Dirty tricks and petty games do nothing but discredit the value of their (our?) opinions. Trolling online is pathetic (albeit amusing), trolling IRL is borderline sociopathic. Go support Wiklinks if you have to make a nuisance of yourself, at least it would be for a noble cause…

    • Hi Rosie, thanks for your support. Trolling IRL has a name already – it’s called stalking. There may be legal consequences should I be able to learn who is responsible. These people have behaved inappropriately, unethically, unprofessionally or illegally, and their behaviour has been publicly exposed. Their response is that of a schoolyard bully caught stealing – by striking back without ever acknowledging their wrongdoing.

      Media and PR dinosaurs are incapable of accepting that their control of the media and the message is over. The era of radical transparency has begun.

  2. Speechless! That is just appalling.

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