The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Bloggers' Code Escapes The Winnipeg Free Press


If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, maybe the Free Press newsroom will next have to don pyjamas and take their laptops into their mother's basements.

So let's just forget that it took the Winnipeg Free Press SIX WEEKS to duplicate The Black Rod's exclusive story linking Winnipeg murder victims to a thug sub-culture sweeping the province. (

Our readers know who had it first.

Hell, it took the FP almost ONE YEAR to acknowledge The Black Rod's exclusive reporting on the Matthew Dumas shooting.

( Sunday, April 24, 2005. EXCLUSIVE: "Daddy they're beating him up"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006. The Free Press scalps The Black Rod for the true story about the Matthew Dumas shooting )

Far from objecting to seeing our stories cribbed, we welcome it because if we didn't think the stories were important we wouldn't have written them in the first place. We've helped mainstream media reporters develop stories when asked politely.

What's unforgiveable is the breach of the blogger's code.

Don't forget that Free Press publisher Box Cox (as he was identified by the professionally written, professionally edited newspaper) so gloriously announced a year ago, when he was still the newspaper's Editor, that he, too, was a blogger.

Sure his biggest blow was about the death of the period, or the comma, or the paragraph.

But, surely, he understood the code.

And the code says that you acknowledge by giving a H/T (hat tip) to a fellow blogger who gives you a tip or who is the source of a story you're referencing.

That's common courtesy, Box. Uh, Bob.

The author of the Free Press Gangs-on-the-Web story, Bruce Owen, is headed for the Legislature beat.

We're sure he'll find plenty to crib from The Black Rod to feed his new beat, starting with O'Learygate, and the Crocus Fund's secret back channel to the NDP caucus, and the province's new Auditor General who'll accept any story providing you have a receipt, or you swear you once spoke to someone who said he saw a receipt somewhere.

Bon Appetit, Bruce.

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