Dispatches From Blogistan

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the book
Dispatches From Blogistan
by suzanne stefanac
peachpit/new riders
voices that matter series
shipping now
> amazon
> barnes & noble
from the book
> table of contents
> chapter 2 history of open discourse
> chapter 6 history of journalism
> 10 blog design tips
> what is this long tail?
> trackback demystified
> blog ethics primer
> glossary
> resource hotlinks


> cory doctorow

> farai chideya

> bruce sterling

> denise caruso

> craig newmark

> jamais cascio

> laura lemay

> christian crumlish

> jon lebkowsky

ethics primer for bloggers

Jcap1.gifournalistic codes of ethics are a fairly recent phenomenon. Many of the earliest newspapers and periodicals were little more than bully pulpits for their publishers, editors and patrons. Gradually, news organizations around the world have come to recognize that they need to earn the trust and loyalty of their audience and that adherence to a code of ethics helps to ensure this end. Here’s a shot at adapting classic journalistic ethics points to the world of blogging.

be fair

  • Acknowledge any personal bias.
  • Clearly distinguish opinion from fact.
  • Question the motives of sources.
  • Research all facts thoroughly and honestly
  • Ensure that no headline, quote, image, audio, or body text mislead or misrepresent.
  • Never plagiarize.

be accountable

  • Hold editorial and advocacy writing to the same standards as news reporting.
  • Be courageous when holding those in power accountable.
  • Identify and link to sources whenever possible.
  • Invite feedback and respond to it.
  • Avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest; if unavoidable, disclose all gifts, fees, etc.
  • Admit and correct mistakes promptly and publicly.

minimize harm

  • Avoid pandering and sensationalism.
  • Acknowledge that private individuals have a greater right to an expectation of privacy than public officials or those who court power, influence or media attention.
  • Practice discretion when writing about those who may be adversely affected by blog coverage, particularly if they are children, grieving victims of crimes, innocent bystanders, or suspects.
  • Recognize common standards of decency.
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