Alana Nguyen, the new Executive Director of SFGate.com, has blocked Zennie62 from further blog postings on the website of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The exact reason for the sudden action wasn’t stated in the email sent to announce it, but emails and conversations the day before pointed to a sudden concern for a blog subject Zennie62 (Zennie Abraham) has covered before: why the mainstream media failed to ask Texas Governor Rick Perry about allegations that he’s Gay or had a Gay relationship with the now former Secretary of State Geoff Connor.
Nguyen, who was found by SFGate.com while she was managing editor at YardBarker, has a law degree from Stanford, but is best known for her work at YardBarker, and her time as AOL’s “Miss Gossip for AOL FanHouse. She started with the website in September, and it seems wants to make changes.
But one of the talks Nguyen and this blogger had was regarding the City Brights program. The disclaimer says that City Brights bloggers, of which I was since April 2009, do not have editors and the basic policy is that we’re to be left alone.
That policy allowed me to develop a new style of blogging such that targets on Google News were consistently hit, and in 2010, of the 46 million unique visitors generated, over 12 million were caused by the Zennie62 blog postings. In March 18, 2010, 268,000 unique visitors were attracted in one day, after six blog posts on the breakup between Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. Zennie62 was responsible for as much as 2.2 million unique visitors per month.
But with this, neither the San Francisco Chronicle, or SFGate.com, or Hearst Newspapers actively promoted the work of Zennie62. That while news sites like Editor and Publisher were told that “mommy bloggers” were bringing in much of the web traffic.
Frankly I got the impression Hearst Corporation was afraid to admit that one black man had used his own methods to basically drive their web traffic. I say that because while they were being publicly quiet about my performance, locally I was taken to lunch basically to find out how I was making all that “Internet rain.” I did share some of my approach, not all of it.
After a time, my blog posts were used, without warning, on other Hearst Newspaper websites, most notably the SeattlePI.com. And all because those websites also wanted to enjoy the traffic generation results I produced.
Because of this, I lobbied to run SFGate.com, feeling that it could be reworked to challenge The Huffington Post. I was constantly not only rebuffed, but never even given a chance to formally interview for the job. Meanwhile, I was developing my own separate blog presence at Zennie62.com, mostly because I wanted to have control over my blog posts and try more experiments. And because I had the feeling Hearst was just using me and would never give me a fair shake.
What was bothersome about the experience was that I never asked to be promoted – I figured my work and metrics would do the talking. Meanwhile, SFGate.com rolled on, a consistently underperforming asset.
Today’s action was both a bit hurtful and totally liberating. Hurtful because I never had a reason to think it would happen. Liberating because I am now free to be totally in a position to attack what I perceive as my tormentor and beat them at their own news game. And I will do it.
Bloggers and the rights of bloggers must be fought for and maintained. It’s my right to cover that which is controversial and give a voice to those who would be ignored. It’s my job to cover trends and the news of the day, then use that traffic to bring attention to other news.
I’m a blogger. I’m not a journalist.
I used my blog to point to injustice either here or in third World countries. I have defended companies and people. I’ve covered tech events and the Oscars. I have covered the Occupy Movement and won praise and last year gained a community service award for my work during the Oakland Mayor’s Race. And I have done some thing NO OTHER person has done in SFGate.com history – something that Ms. Nguyen apparently wants to block out.
Fine. My work will not end. It will only grow.