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MacAllister
11-12-2005, 04:29 PM
I love blogs. I read several, on a daily basis. I keep a blog. I visit dozens of blogs every week.

More and more, I wonder about this medium as a sort of underground journalism. I've noticed blogs making news, and reporting news, often a step (or several) ahead of the mainstream news media.

Along with that, I wonder about the ethics of blogging. Sensational, inflammatory, hyperbolic, and real-time coverage allows for multiple abuses, as well. Some of that spontaneous and exaggerated nature--which adds to the popularity of many high-traffic political blogs, for instance--also seems antithetical to the principles of more traditional journalism.

So I just wondered what everyone else thought about all this. :)

mommie4a
11-12-2005, 06:15 PM
Thanks for starting this thread Mac. As you know, I get around the blogosphere a bit too. Here's a link to a great discussion on a blog about blogger ethics - the comments are where it's at.

http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2005/11/02/tech-link-kent-state-panel-discussion-ethics-for-bloggers/

Mac - do you think we should post other links that would help bloggers think about this topic?

emeraldcite
11-13-2005, 03:16 AM
What I find interesting is when you see reputable news sources taking information from blogs.

I always wondered in what orchard they grew political commentators, but now I can explore more grassroots sensibilities when looking for my news. What do people care about vs. news sources.

I think it also helps keep an eye on the gov't. For instance, what CNN or Fox won't notice, there might be a blogger who watches just that. I think it opens up a world of possibilities for sources of information.

Dawno
11-13-2005, 07:02 AM
Blogger ethics. Gee Mac, you couldn't start this forum off with something light like "What’s MySpace all about anyway?" Oh no - gotta go all heavy right off the bat. ;)

Cool topic - I've been thinking about it since reading some blogs that talk about "citizen journalists" - which to me is returning to the roots of journalism, at least American journalism.

Blogger ethics. The internet has created a place where anyone can say anything so just about everything *is* being said. That means each of us has to be very careful about what we believe. Sometimes the time I spend researching whether or not something I saw on the ‘net is true gets me wandering through cyberspace for hours. Makes me dizzy. But these days, who can you believe anymore? When the icons of journalism aren’t fact checking and papers you thought you could trust turn out to be printing lies, it seems journalistic ethics are eroding everywhere.

I imagine that, back in the day, when someone who thought they had something 'important' to say about the state of the colonies or taxation without representation – when that person would get a printer to print up their broadsides which they would then tack to the wall next to the pub-door, ...where was I going with this? Oh, I’m guessing the folks who read this stuff probably wondered if it was trustworthy or not, unless they knew the writer (and that's assuming he didn't go by a pseudonym to keep from being hanged). Either the author brought their own ethics to the process or they didn't. And early ‘traditional’ journalism was rife with ‘yellow journalism’ and sensationalism. Didn’t Hearst create as much news as he printed? And the reportage on the Spanish American War – there’s journalistic ethics at ebb tide…

Same thing with blogs. Does anyone really care much if I'm ethical? Less than two dozen people read my blog on a busy day. However, *I* do care about it. So I’ll try to cite what I source and be clear when it’s my opinion. I care that the few people who do stumble across my blog will find me authentic and believable and ethical.

The very popular blogs that are competing with traditional journalism, I think that it’s the number of readers is what will force ethics on them. If they are lying, they'll be caught and abandoned. Bloggers will self-police, if not themselves, then I think each other.

mommie4a
11-13-2005, 07:49 AM
I'm with Dawno - I think between self-policing and readers putting pressure - by either reading, not reading or leaving comments that comment on whether ethics are violated, we'll figure out the boundaries - if any.

MacAllister
11-13-2005, 12:09 PM
Jill--I think links to other places that might shed light on the subject are always helpful. :)

Besides, it's a longstanding blogging tradition to do so.

I loved this quote (http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com/2005/11/02/tech-link-kent-state-panel-discussion-ethics-for-bloggers/#comment-6651), from the site Jill originally linked, upstream:
Bottom line? We’re all the same, facing temptations the lure of shortcutting, leaving out facts, being selective in presenting facts. Where I think we in our role as bloggers and journalists go wrong is when we pretend or say to the world that we’re writing objectively when we are not — that actually seems to be more of a problem for my fellow journalists than bloggers I know.

Lady of Prose
11-15-2005, 02:40 AM
I absolutely love blogs. Being somewhat of an analytical person, I like the way some blog posters reveal themselves. You can learn a lot about a person from reading their blogs.

I just started my own blog a couple of evenings ago, and was amazed at the ease of what I had composed. I hesitated to start one, expecting that I would have a lack of material. Found out otherwise.

Not one to debate political or religious issues, I like the way an individual can set the tone for the topics discussed on their blogs.

Great thread, Mac, thanks.

Paint
12-11-2005, 07:25 PM
Dawno--should this be a sticky?

I like it that blogs are uncensored. I can always click if I don't like it. I also like different choices with the news and social issues.
I love blogs, I find the whole concept exciting. I am just starting out with mine, there's a whole brave new world out there!
Paint

Dawno
12-11-2005, 07:36 PM
Dawno--should this be a sticky?

IMO a stickie has important news or information about the forum that needs to stay up top - I'd be willing to hear points of view on whether anyone else feels this should be stickied. (I wanted to say 'stuck' - what *is* the right grammar?)

Vanessa
12-11-2005, 08:09 PM
I absolutely love blogs. Being somewhat of an analytical person, I like the way some blog posters reveal themselves. You can learn a lot about a person from reading their blogs.

Not one to debate political or religious issues, I like the way an individual can set the tone for the topics discussed on their blogs.

Great thread, Mac, thanks.



Same here. I like the personalitiy that's revealed through an individual that blogs. I kinda hit and miss on this subject in one of my blog topics. If a blog reads beyond a personal position, then I move on. I get bored reading about everybody's opinion of the govt' or their political news related issues. But the point of a blog is to say whatever you want or however you want. It's amazing how some people are making big bucks with their blogs.

Dawno
12-11-2005, 08:19 PM
When a blogger starts getting huge traffic because they're known as a source of information, that's when I start getting concerned about ethics. If you stick to commentary and make it known that the posts are opinion, that's a different story.

Not that reporters are saints nor that their companies are perfect, but the traditional media do purport to have a code of conduct and ethics around their reporting. That's why when they goof it gets big press. There are firings and retractions. With a blogger - who's holding them accountable?

For example, Daily Kos says it has the most traffic of any blog and I see it referred to a lot. I searched the site for an ethics policy - didn't see one. Who will keep it on the straight and narrow? I guess the readership?

aka eraser
12-11-2005, 09:54 PM
I can see how the issue of ethics relates to many blogs/bloggers out there but I don't think I'm one of them. Most of my writing, via any forum, is for entertainment purposes. I delight in warping the truth semi-regularly by exaggerating or following a fork that veers a little off reality road.

I guess I assume, (I know - Danger Will Robinson!) that my readers know that my tongue is often in cheek - that I'm telling a story and that a good storyteller rarely lets facts get in the way.

My blog's too new to have established any sort of identity but I see it pretty much as an extension of my column - sometimes straight, sometimes loopy, sometimes a bit of both.

When my nose grows, it's expected. :)

Unique
12-11-2005, 10:04 PM
Politics leaves me slightly ill so I get my political news from:william haskins

My ethical question is concerning links. Right now, I don't have any, but
the things that interest and/or delight me, may leave others aghast.

I think you should always ask first, then link but say I like Blog A - Blog A likes my blog and it's ok for me to link. I also like Blog B. But let's say Blog A and Blog B are 180 out and they have issues with each other. What then?

Mike Coombes
12-11-2005, 10:27 PM
Sensational, inflammatory, hyperbolic, and real-time coverage allows for multiple abuses, as well.

Just like I remember Fox news from my trips to the USA.

I don't, on the whole, like blogs. The vast majority are akin to masturbating in public - it's not pretty, it serves no purpose and I'd stand a better chance of keeping my lunch down if I didn't witness it.

Bloggers in general (and I'm not digging at anyone on this site - writers' blogs are more interesting and informative than most) seem to be under the mistaken impression that their sporadic ramblings will be of interest to millions, or even dozens...

There's a reason why diaries are secret - apart from the scandalous bits, they're boring.

As to ethics, it counts the same whether you're writing a blog or a novel; write the truth and write it with passion. That's all that matters.

Dawno
12-12-2005, 04:22 AM
Politics leaves me slightly ill so I get my political news from:william haskins

My ethical question is concerning links. Right now, I don't have any, but
the things that interest and/or delight me, may leave others aghast.

I think you should always ask first, then link but say I like Blog A - Blog A likes my blog and it's ok for me to link. I also like Blog B. But let's say Blog A and Blog B are 180 out and they have issues with each other. What then?

Although it might be nice to ask about linking I don't think it's common. Most folks just link. If someone's got a blog, they're opening the trenchcoat anyway - they want people to look. You're doing them a favor if you link to them.

astonwest
12-15-2005, 06:31 AM
As to ethics, it counts the same whether you're writing a blog or a novel; write the truth and write it with passion. That's all that matters.

Or write absolute nonsense, as I do... ;)
One doesn't have to hold onto ethics in those instances.

Dawno
12-15-2005, 07:01 AM
Oh, I know better, aston ;) I read the story.

sthrnwriter
01-04-2006, 12:11 PM
I belong to this yahoo group for writers and somone posted a link for blogger ethics. I thought I would share it with y'all and see what you think about them. They pretty much modified the code of ethics provided by the Society of Professional Journalists.

http://www.cyberjournalist.net/news/000215.php