Increasingly, those who work in traditional journalism find playing games in the blogosphere can be a career-ender.

From Tampa Bay Online, the web site of Florida’s Tampa Tribune:

A tbt* pop music critic resigned Thursday after acknowledging she had posted negative comments on a Myspace.com profile that parodied Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms.

The messages posted by Gina Vivinetto, a columnist for the free tabloid daily, which is published by the St. Petersburg Times, were “inappropriate,” Neil Brown, the Times’ executive editor and vice president, said late Thursday.

The comments, which Brown declined to describe in detail, were “mocking Ronda Storms in a somewhat sexual nature,” he said.

The postings by Vivinetto were discovered Wednesday, two days after the fake profile was pulled from Myspace, Brown said. Vivinetto was asked about the postings Thursday. She acknowledged making them and agreed to resign, he said.

Vivinetto had worked as a critic for the Times before moving to tbt* last year. Brown said that although Vivinetto posted the comments on her own time, Times managers felt they compromised the paper’s journalistic integrity.


Last month, The Los Angeles Times axed the Garden State column of Michael Hiltzik after he admitted posting anonymous contributions to his own blog in the paper.

Reports The Times:

The Times is discontinuing Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State column, which ran in the Business section, because the columnist violated the newspaper’s ethics guidelines. This follows the suspension last week of his blog on latimes.com, which also has been discontinued.

Hiltzik has acknowledged using pseudonyms to post a single comment on his blog on latimes.com and multiple comments elsewhere on the Web that dealt with his column and other issues involving the newspaper.

Hiltzik was suspended and will be reassigned after he finishes his suspension.

The Times, like many newspapers, added blogs to its online news mix to try and compete with the growth of bloggers out there. Many are little more than a rehash of news items in the paper but some, like The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin, add needed spice to the product.

An example:

The Bush mythology is full of convenient little fictions — like the one that he speaks Spanish fluently.

The president delights in injecting a phrase or two of Spanish into a speech or photo opportunity. And over the years, the misconception that he is proficient in the language has spread far and wide, and even crept into some credulous news stories.

But suddenly, it’s not so convenient. Bush critics are accusing him of hypocrisy for publicly opposing the singing of the national anthem in Spanish — when he allegedly did it himself during his presidential campaign.

So as part of the attempt to swat that story down, the White House itself is calling attention to Bush’s foreign-language shortcomings.

“I’m saying that not only was that suggestion absurd, but that he couldn’t possibly sing the national anthem in Spanish. He’s not that good with his Spanish,” press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday. “The president speaks Spanish, but not that well.”