My not-so-secret identity

This post will serve as both a daily (sort of) contact report and a reflection on my changing image, as determined by the blog.

Twice this week I was contacted by people who apparently thought of me primarily as a blogger. Since I have a well-over-40-hour-a-week job that puts me in the public eye much more prominently than the blog (so I thought), and seeing as how the blog is just something I do when I can grab a minute — much of it late at night and on weekends — this sort of blows my little mind.

First, there was Peter Hamby, reporter/producer with CNN, who produced this story this week.

Peter had wanted to talk with me about the campaign — I thought because of my position as editorialHamby_2
page editor, because I’m used to that — so I asked him, as I did Doug, to meet me for breakfast Wednesday at the Cap City Club. I ran late, but when I called Peter he was late, too, and as it happened I was the first one there. I settled in to read the paper in the club’s foyer, and looked up each time the elevator let another passenger off on the 25th floor. Once, I saw this kid with the beginnings of a beard get off, start into the foyer, then turn back, and start pacing like he was waiting for somebody. I went back to the paper. Several minutes later, my cell phone rings. It’s Peter. He said he had arrived at the Club, but realized he was wearing sandals, and that that might not be appropriate. Where are you now? I asked. "At the entrance, next to the elevators." Peter was the "kid" with the beard. I told him we’d muddle through somehow, flip-flops or no, and we went on in.

I learned that he was living here until after the primary, that he had time on his hands because the candidates were spending their time in Iowa and New Hampshire these days, so he was trying to write a piece about how McCain was doing. He had found that several of the people he talked to seemed to expect McCain to do better here than conventional "wisdom" — that I wasn’t the only one, in other words.

But the thing that got me was that at one point, when I had been speaking of candidates who had visited with us, Peter asked whether was a member of the editorial board of the paper. And then I remembered that, going by his initial e-mail to me, he had first come to me through the blog:

    My name is Peter Hamby … I moved to Columbia 2 weeks ago to cover the
primaries for CNN. I’ll be here until January writing, reporting, shooting
video, etc …
    Anyway, I dig your blog, and wanted to use you for some analysis in a piece
I’m writing for about John McCain’s chances of winning in South
Carolina, in advance of his visit next week…. What do you think?

So I explained who I was. It was weird.

Then, today, I got this e-mail:

Hi Brad,

I’m working on putting together a blog guide of the most
influential political blogs in the early primary states and delegate-rich
states. Anyway, your blog comes highly recommended, so I will most likely be
including it. What are some of your biggest coups (picked up by  national media?
breaking news? causing someone to resign?) on the blog, and  what,
approximately, is your average daily hits? I’m on deadline, so I hope to hear
back from you soon.



Associate Editor
Campaigns & Elections  magazine

I responded (and failed to save the response), making sure to drop in the fact that I actually have a jobBcboard_021_2
on the side at the newspaper. I mentioned the recent noise over my Edwards column (190,000 page views on the version on, which is the version Drudge linked to), and the week when Thomas Ravenel was indicted (heaviest blog traffic yet). And she wrote back and asked me for a picture, and so I sent her the one shown here, which I thought made me look newspapermannish, rather than like a blogger — even though I’ve never used that photo in the paper, but only on the blog.

Theodora wrote back to say "Love the bowtie!"

9 thoughts on “My not-so-secret identity

  1. Cindi Scoppe

    Isn’t it a little … deceptive … to be sending around pictures of you with a beard when — THANK GOODNESS — you don’t have that awful thing now? I mean, wouldn’t that be like a legislator running a 30-year-old picture of himself in the Legislative Manual … uh … never mind.

  2. Brad Warthen

    I don’t have a beard this month. I had one last month. When I shaved it, I switched to the photo that now graces my main page. But I thought that EXTREME CLOSEUP look was a little too weird for Theodora.

  3. weldon VII

    Actually, Brad, I like the beard (infer nothing from that, please).
    Why? Because I have one, and the last time I shaved it off my daughter, who was six at the time, said, “Daddy, shave it back on.”
    So, Brad, shave it back on. It gives your comments more weight.

  4. Randy E

    Cindi, I prefer the beard to his 1975 photo that you’all ran in the paper all these years.
    Brad, the first story reminds me of the Arial cartoon a few years back: a little kid representing AOL is in the local drug store represening Time Warner. The old man at the counter asks him “what will you have sonny?” The kid replies “how much for the whole store pop?”

  5. bud

    Brad this should be a wake up call about the waning influence of the print media. My guess is the average person spends 10 times as much time “reading” the internet as the do reading printed newspapers. I would suggest that your influence over political affairs has increased substantially because of the blog.

  6. Lisa Gayle

    Brad, The beard itself appears soft and touchable but makes you look older than you probably are. So I say shave it off for good, and don’t leave a moustache. Your eyeglass style is what I really have a problem with. They look too “bank executive” or “legislator-like.” Totally out of style. Spring for some new frames that do your face some justice. You have killer blue eyes.


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