The Ethics of Blogging

Posted on February 29, 2012


Q: If we were to write a code of ethics for political or organizational bloggers, what are some things it should contain? How might the two be different? 

A: As an aspiring lawyer with day dreams of being a journalist, I am very interested in the ethical aspect of blogging. In fact, this is one thing that has kept me from making my work public. I have been working on blog materials for about two years (articles, photos, videos) but I wanted to learn more before I presented this information. This is precisely why I am this class.

1) Be honest: state your bias, affiliation, whose voice are you representing (the people who voted for you, the organization that pays you, the corporate sponsors that support you)

2) Be a good moderator, but avoid censorship: provide clear rules and expectations. Learn when to let it go! The challenge of using any media to clear your name or clarify yourself is that it only increases the amount of publicity and attention to the issue: if you want it to go away, stop responding. I really like the suggestion of Tim O’Reilley on his blog post about bloggers code of conduct to take the conversation offline and/or include a moderator to resolve the conflict.

3) Creating a community alliance against abuse and for respect: empower other readers to respond. Follow other bloggers and create a community safety net.

I particularly LOVE how Nicholas Kristof, op-ed journalist for the NYTimes creates an open forum seeking feedback on an issue with invitation, and following up with a subsequent post (usually a comment or question from a reader) that he feels warrants attention. This is productive, community-led journalism at its best: he creates the perception of an open forum, when really we all know that it is very calculated and careful. I know he has consultants that helps to manage his social media outlets because it is impossible that one man does this alone, but the perception that he is one man who is honest, inquisitive, humble, and has an open ear for all is very compelling. This type of moderation coincides with ‘less shouting, more dialogue’ as provided in this presentation of the Do’s and Don’ts for political blogger. 

Posted in: Assignment