Last week, at the end of the Media 140 conference where I was blogging, the day ended with panellist Jason Wilson asking “Who is Grog’s Gamut?” In response, a handful of people stood up and announced “I’m Grog’s Gamut!” “No, I’m Grog’s Gamut!” It was a response that had been organised in advance by some friends (including Wilson) as a bit of a joke because throughout the day the name “Grog’s Gamut” had been mentioned a few times — to the point where Osman Faruqi was tweeting that he had been having a drink every time it was mentioned and that he was pretty well on his ear.

Well no longer do we need to ask the question. Today James Massola of The Australian has taken it upon himself to out me. Apparently knowing I am Greg Jericho is “in the public interest” because the head of the ABC, Mark Scott, mentioned in a speech that my blog post attacking journalists’ coverage of the campaign (and specifically the lack of policy) was mentioned at an ABC executive meeting:

The first example is through blogs and the Twitter traffic. Halfway through the campaign, the ABC executive met on a Monday morning and discussed the weekend blog by the Canberra public servant, writing under the tag Grog’s Gamut. It was a lacerating critique of the journalists following the candidates, their obsession with transient matters, the political scandal of the day. He met a chorus of praise and support, triggering a barrage of criticism of campaign coverage.

So because the head of the ABC took notice of something I wrote anonymously about journalism, I need to be named. I guess the lesson here is if you want to blog anonymously, don’t do it effectively.

Whatever you think of Massola’s decision to out me (and it was certainly not my decision or preference), I will just say he has known who I was since last November. Why he has decided to reveal my name now, given Scott’s speech was delivered on the  September 2, is for to him to say. No doubt he has his reasons and thinks them valid.

The justification for the story actually came from the media editor (yes it is bizarre that I am someone whom the national daily needs to justify outing):

If you are a public servant and blogging and tweeting, sometimes airing a partisan political line, do you deserve anonymity? No.

Journalists and editors grant anonymity to sources and whistleblowers but Grog’s Gamut, or as we know now, Greg Jericho, is an active participant in the public debate via Twitter and his blog. Scott cited “Grog’s Gamut” criticism of media’s election coverage at an ABC news meeting and as a result “we adjusted our strategy”.

Fair enough. But if you are influencing the public debate, particularly as a public servant, it is the public’s right to know who you are. It is the media’s duty to report it.

Take that how ever you want to.

Now to Massola’s article.

First, the headline:

Controversial political blogger unmasked as a federal public servant

Well my unmasking as a public servant actually happened a while ago — in fact Massola did it when he wrote about me on August 7:

Hobby writers keep pros on their toes

A funny thing happened in the political blogosphere last week. The mainstream media got down to some serious self-analysis after a critical post by a Canberra public servant who blogs under the name of Grog’s Gamut.

But oh well, he didn’t write the headline, so I’ll let that pass through to the keeper.

He writes:

Mr Jericho, who was the subject of intrigue at the Media 140 conference in Canberra last Thursday as an “embedded” but anonymous blogger, wore a name tag that gave his first name but not his last.

He knows this because he sat down by coincidence at my table at the conference late in the afternoon. I noticed him, and as he knew my name I sent a private message to him on Twitter letting him know that I was at the table. He did not talk to me on the day, in fact he left before the session ended, which was a pity because we have chatted a fair bit on Twitter and I was interested to meet him. Stupidly I know, but given he had known my name for 10 months, I was not concerned that he would out me.

As for others at the conference, I didn’t out myself at all to any journalists — a few people asked at the post-event drinks (by which time all the journalists had left) if I was Grog’s Gamut, I said I was. Strangely none of them gave a stuff what my real name was.

*Read the rest of this story on Grog’s Gamut.