Image by millzero via FlickrThe November issue of the Foreign Service Journal (FSJ) is out. It features The FS Blogosphere in 2009 written by Mark Hay, a student at Columbia University who was an editorial intern in the Journal.
He writes that American diplomatic blogging activity lags behind Russia, Israel, and Syria but that “the FS blogosphere is assured of its place and seems set for further growth.”
“[I]ts effects on the nature of the Foreign Service community’s self-perception, tolerance for dissent and contributions to literature are all unknown. But there is no doubt of its potential to promote U.S. soft power, foster the expression of dissent and build connections within the FS community.”
He also points out in the article that many of the blogs noted in last year’s compilation are no longer operational. “Even during the time it took to prepare this article, several blogs under consideration died and were replaced, and ultimately surpassed, by newborn or revived blogs.”
The piece divided the blogs into three broad categories -- FS members’ journals, family-member accounts and, finally, critical or analytical offerings. Within each, there are various subsets as follows: The Journal, Slices of Life, The Training Journal, Trailing Spouses, Both Spouses-Approach, How-To Guides, Thoughtful Musings, News with an FS Bent, and Retirees’ Reflections.
Some of our favorite FS blogs made the list (NDS, TH, Jill, Donna), and some did not. Most conspicuously absent, of course is -- The Consuls’ Files. I’m not sure if the lead-time for the magazine is one or two months. But Madam le Consul was certainly not dead yet in September 2009. Consul-At-Arms II, Life After Jerusalem, Avuncular American and John Brown’s Public Diplomacy and Blog Review, as well as John Brown’s Notes and Essays are all alive and well but are not on the list. (John Brown, yes, one of the three FSOs who quit over Iraq).
The article links to AFSA’s blog list but page is empty right now. We had an FS bloggers index here for a while but pulled that down after MLC disappeared; have not decided yet what to do with it. Life After Jerusalem does have an extensive list of over a hundred FS blogs that's worth checking...
DiploPundit (I think that’s us), made the list under News with an FS Bent “In these news aggregators, discerning bloggers cull the news for stories of interest to diplomats and either present them unaltered or with a dash of insider commentary. Regardless of the garnish and delivery, they are among the premier sources for pre-filtered diplomatic news.” Reinventing Public Diplomacy is on the list but that blog has not been updated since March 8, 2009. Our blog friend, TSB at The Skeptical Bureaucrat made the same list with us.
The FSJ is the trade publication of the Foreign Service with a circulation of 15,000 and approximately 30,000 readers. We appreciate the blog press; just hope we won’t see a blog cop carrying a big hammer and a deletrius gun (used to disintegrate, or 'delete', an object) with nothing better to do, try and knock on our door in the weeks ahead. Dude, you know we have a disclaimer, right? No ostrich has been harmed in the writing of this blog.