Jeremy Wright has written an interesting post titled "Bloggers aren’t ethical". He makes this argument on the basis that bloggers are driven by slightly different considerations to journalists and while there have been a host of complaints about journalists who violate journalistic ethics, journalists are generally held to an ethical standard whereas bloggers are not.
Which leads us to my second angle on this whole
issue. Journalists, as a body, seek objectivity and credibility.
Bloggers, as a body, seek authenticity and honesty.
to a fundamental disconnect in popularity, voice and motivation. For
all but a select number of journalists, the pieces they write are
dictated. They are writing about it because it pays the bills and they
enjoy the art, but everything about what they write is mandated:
balance, seeking out sources, being objective, etc. Bloggers, on the
other hand, and with only a few exceptions, write because they want to.
They write about what they want. And they write about it however they
And audiences will either read or they’ll simply ignore the blogger.
here is the fundamental disconnect: when your purpose, format, voice
and content are what attract the audience, to betray that audience by
imposing other boundaries may damage your ability to keep an authentic
and honest voice. And, that is ethics.
Which is my third
angle. Ethics is something created by lawyers and journalists out of
capitalistic need. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, but it does mean
that applying the same ethical measuring sticks to blogging doesn’t
Ultimately it comes down to your integrity, really. Will you do anything for a story (or the hits) or do you draw a line and declare your intention not to cross that line?
As Jeremy puts it:
At the end of the day, the only thing we as
creators of the written word have is that which our audience gives us –
their eyes, their ears and their minds. And to violate that trust is
the cardinal sin of everyone who values the written word. Be they
blogger, journalist, poet or playwright.
So protect your
words, protect your readers and honor the trust you have been given. By
doing so you will be the best journalist or blogger you can be.