Code of Ethics For Bloggers… Ah Bull $#!T… What About Current Journalist Who Blog?

There has been discussion over the years about what makes a good blog and what doesn’t make a good blog.  A lot of talk has been thrown around about “Ethical Blogging”.

I think many people are still mixing up Blogs for other forms of media and Blog writers as Journalist who subscribe to the Code of Ethics formulated by the Society for Professional Journalist.

…Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

There are some strict rules to this code and the wording is not very forgiving on some of the code:

  • Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.
  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity (Me pander to curiosity… never)

The list goes on and on… about what members of this Society have pledged to adhere to.

My question… Is someone who is a member of this society… of which I am not… Also held to these same code of ethics on a Personal Blog?

If I were to become a member of the Big Island Press Club… Do they expect these same ethics to hold true to a blogger who never wanted to be a “journalist”.

4 Responses

  1. If one makes a shit-storm about being “blackballed” by the government and boasts about breaking the back of the monopoly of news on the island, one ought not to be surprised that one is going to be judged on a standard of, say, basic fact-checking and basic ethics.

    If, on the other hand, one runs a blog calling people smucks, posting knock-out videos, and posting 200 posts a day about what’s going on around you, I think there’s less heat.

    But to answer your question directly: “Are journalists who blog compelled by the code of ethics?” the answer is “Yes.” You can’t believe in certain ethics from 9-5 and then turn them off in the evening. If you want to be treated like a journalist, you have to show in your non-fiction writing that you are aware of, and believe in, certain basic rights and wrongs. It is wrong to lie, everyone knows that, and everyone knows that everyone lies every day. But it is _seriously_ wrong to slip a lie or a slander into a stream of facts — “this playground is open, this road is closed, person X broke the law, the rain has started falling, etc.” And it’s BS to claim as a defense “Well it seems to me that what X did is probably illegal,” or “I was exaggerating for effect.”

  2. I guess the TH must not have anybody that adheres to this…let’s see….they rarely tell the diversity of the human experience, frequently distort the issue by only telling one skewed side of a story, etc., etc..etc..

    What a joke. I’d rather have my brain stimulated by pandering to my curiosity, lurid or otherwise, than to have the BS they spew shoveled doen my throat.

    Fork ’em. The FBI-style information will end the dinosaurs reign soon enough.

  3. Bloggers code of ethics? Yeah, ok. People telling me how to run my blog that I pay for. It’s like my whole idea against buying in subdivisions with Fascist community associations. If I buy a house, I should have the right to change the exterior to bumpy stucco and paint it day-glo pink. If nobody is paying my mortgage, nobody should have the right to tell me that I can’t make my house look like pepto-bismol poured over cottage cheese.

    I would expect that the BIPC would hold all members accountable to the journalism code of ethics. Regardless of career intentions or not. Student members (remind me to send in my app) would also probably be held accountable to those standards, and I wouldn’t want to be part of a organization that didn’t treat all members equally and fairly. (Oh wait, I am, it’s called the State of Hawaii and the whole civil unions crap.)

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