Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Well, if it Isn't the Pot Calling the Driven Snow Black

Lord Spatula of spatula city bbs notes this story, aired by ABC News last night on Nightline about blogger ethics. One would think that an institution like the mainstream media would seek to get its own house in order before worrying about others, but anyway:
The growing influence of blogs such as his is raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct.
I've wondered that for decades about "journalism". Whatever you boys have doesn't seem to be working very well, right Eason and Dan?

So far, many bloggers resist any notion of ethical standards, saying individuals ought to decide what's right for them. After all, they say, blog topics range from trying to sway your presidential vote to simply talking about the day's lunch.
What bloggers? Got a link? No? ABC and AP consider it ethical to attack groups of people in unsigned stories, without any documentation? Is that ethical?

Longtime blogger Rebecca Blood circulated guidelines that call for disclosing any conflicts of interest, publicly correcting any misinformation and linking to any source materials referenced in postings.

"It seems pretty clear to me that having some kind of standard contributes to an individual blogger's own credibility," she said.

Yet Blood knows of fewer than 10 bloggers who have adopted her guidelines by linking to the document.
Who is Rebecca Blood, and who appointed her to be Lord Goddess Almighty of the Blogosphere?

How bloggers handle matters of ethics and disclosure vary greatly.
Wow, just like journalists.

Bloggers, though, tend to shudder at being called journalists, even as lines between the two blur.
Now there's a question just begging to be asked, "why would bloggers feel insulted to be called 'journalists'?" Could it be because the name has had disgraceful connotations since the Vietnam War, when "journalists" colluded with the North Vietnamese, and through incompetence or design, completely screwed the pooch on reporting what was happening?

Dan Gillmor, a former newspaper columnist now studying citizen-driven journalism through blogging, said bloggers who want an audience will voluntarily adopt principles of fairness, thoroughness, accuracy and transparency.
Duh. If they don't, they don't develop a wide following. The blogosphere tends to be self-correcting. I really wish it worked that way with, say, TV network news anchors...

The reason bloggers don't consider themselves journalists is that bloggers are watching the journalists. You should have a clue about that by now.